I love the first page of a new notebook.
I write the date crisply.
My whole name marches exactly along a line
The spaces are always even.
The commas curl just so.
I never have to erase on the first page.
Today, I got a new laptop–which is kind of like the grown-up equivalent of a new notebook. I haven’t had a new laptop in about six or seven years. I had become attached to my old laptop–a dear old friend that I spent hours and hours with every day. Some of the best of times and worst of times in the past half-decade of my life have been on that laptop–countless letters, emails, lesson plans, minlesson after minilesson after minilesson, my never-to-be-finished doctoral dissertation, a book, a blog, birth announcements and party plans and thank you cards (I don’t need to say which were the best of times, which were the worst).
As much as I hated to admit it, my old laptop had gotten to the point where doing anything was a terrible chore involving the rainbow-wheel-of death, the frowny-face Mac telling me “Oh snap!” Hours of wasted time.The final blow came when I discovered that even the most basic functions were gone, and that files that appeared to be saved, were in fact not saved, but vanished, gone forever.
So today I walked into the store, marched right up to the chick behind the counter, a twenty-something with an uncanny resemblance to Zooey Deschanel. Maybe it was because of that resemblance that I practically cheered, “I am buying a new laptop today!” I also said, “Hooray!” She smiled, sort of, but she didn’t really share my enthusiasm. Not the way the real Zooey D. would have, anyway.
One thing I realized today is that I do not know very much about computers. And because I don’t know much, it wasn’t as much fun as I had imagined it was going to be to decide on a new one. With every question the sales gal asked me, I basically had to say, “Er… I don’t know much, but I think I need…” which she answered every time, “Actually you probably don’t need…”
At one point I heard myself saying, “Well, my husband says I need…” and I felt my face flush with embarrassment. Seriously?! I thought to myself, My husband says?! Who am I? The sale person, who seemed like a very cool, independent woman raised an eyebrow at me and I felt like I was letting all of womankind down. Dammit. I need to know more about computers. Then, while she went to the store-room to get my new computer, I called my husband to double-check that I’d chosen the right one.
A few hours later, I was home with my new laptop. My new notebook. Now, just like Kate, in About Notebooks, I’m inspired to start fresh with my own writing. So today I created a new blog, with a new title, and layout and everything. Like Jean Little says:
I forget I’m sick of the book with its stupid margins
And, while I’m writing, I hum inside my head.