Some people are prone to anthropomorphizing their pets. For others, their cars. I'm not one of those people, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't sometimes grow attached to inanimate objects.
My laptop appears to be dead. (If you're wondering, I'm writing this post from work. Don't tell the boss, OK?) Two days ago, everything appeared to be fine. I shut it down like normal before going to work, and there didn't appear to be anything wrong. Once I came home the next day and tried to fire it up, though, I got nothing. Pressed the button, no response -- the screen didn't light up, the hard drive didn't start whirring, nothing. Maybe it's toast, maybe it's just an internal power problem ... it's hard to say.
If it is toast, I guess I shouldn't be all that surprised. The laptop was brand new circa July 2007, and it's been with me from Hilo to Jakarta to Beijing and back again. It's just odd having a hole in your daily existence like that all of a sudden. I can't update the podcasts on my non-fruit-based MP3 player, I don't have access to any of my film clips, songs or pictures ... I can't even pull up the Web site of the HP service center to see where I can take my laptop in the hope of getting it fixed. It's an oddly helpless feeling. Even if the laptop itself can't be salvaged, hopefully I can at least have the contents of the hard drive moved over to a new laptop. I have most of the files burned onto DVD-Rs or stored on another computer, but I know I'd lose at least one downloaded (and paid for!) album and all my bookmarks if I had to start from scratch. I spent part of last night scribbling down what files and programs I'd have to replace ... and just when I got Championship Manager working again, too!
What got me thinking was the thought that there aren't many things I have that would leave such a hole in my daily life. I like having my books and DVDs, but I can't think of one that would leave a gnawing feeling in my stomach if I lost it. The same goes for my clothes -- I'm certainly not a clotheshorse, and I have a tendency to hang onto clothes (especially T-shirts) long after their usefulness has passed.
I can probably think of two or three things that would leave me a bit misty-eyed if I lost them, and they're not what you'd think. My uncle Jim gave me an orange backpack for my 18th birthday, before I went on tour with the Troopers, and it's gone just about everywhere with me since -- all across the US on tour, Hawaii, multiple stops in Japan, Beijing, Jakarta, Bali, Malang, etc. There's also a small, battery-powered alarm clock. It's not anything particularly flashy, but I've had it for years and just feel better knowing it's there.
The last one is my hat. It's the only hat I own, and it was a Secret Santa gift back in, I think, 2004 or 2005. Like the other two, it's been with me for years and it's just a reassuring presence. I actually left my hat on the shinkansen while traveling from Okayama to Himeji to see Himeji Castle. Getting it back was fairly painless -- I reported it missing at the Himeji station (I left it in the basket on the back of the seat in front of me), and once I was done wandering around I was told I could pick it up at Osaka station, where the train terminated. The whole time I was walking around the town, though, something just felt ... wrong, I guess. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't more than a little relieved to get it back.
I imagine a large part of this peculiarity is down to making a concerted effort not to accumulate stuff. Moving long distances every other year or so makes one leery of getting too comfortable and weighed down with clothes, furniture, a house, etc. It's great when it becomes time to move, but in between it can feel a little Spartan.
Long story short, I'm in the market for a new laptop. Lots of storage space, wireless card and processing power a must, but other than that I'm pretty flexible. I'm not a Windows or Mac adherent, either. I've always had Windows at home and Mac at work/school and neither have given me enough problems to put me off them. Suggestions?