Salvage or amputate?

Three days ago, I got home from work — early, for a change — and received a rude shock: at some point during the day, my trusty old Compaq laptop had decided to relinquish a component that enables Windows Live Messenger and iTunes to work. At the computer’s suggestion, I uninstalled both programs and tried to reinstall them, but to no avail. Fortunately my mom interrupted my dinging and fiddling before I could actually throw a fit, and asked if I wanted to go to Subang Parade for dinner because she needed to make a Parkson stop. Deciding it was futile to huff and puff over something that apparently only reformatting can rectify — before remembering that Microsoft has since obliterated Windows XP in the wake of its abysmal successor — I went to Subang Parade with my mom.

During dinner I grumbled about my computer to her, and came to the conclusion that if I can’t get Windows XP anymore, and I refuse to use Windows Vista, I would get a Macbook. Then I grumbled about the fact that the Macbook I originally wanted is no longer available, because the new one has already been released, and  then I grumbled that I would have gotten it when it was still available if I weren’t still so attached to my nearly-6-year-old Compaq.

And then, out of nowhere, my mom looked up from her plate and said, “I’ll buy you a new computer (to her it’s ‘a computer’, whether Mac or PC) for your birthday.”

I was so thrown by the statement that my left eyebrow shot up and I said, “Why?”

She never really answered that question, and I suppose it wasn’t the right question to ask in the first place. But she’s never really made an offer like that before, especially because she knows I really don’t care about my birthday and whether or not I get anything for it; I’ve always had to ask for what I want, and she would just agree. Nevertheless, it did move me that she offered at all, especially when we went to look at the Macbook and Macbook Pro after that and she said, “So do you want to get it now?”

Again, I was too surprised to say anything except, “No…” and then quickly followed up with, “I have to think about it first. And I want to see if I can fix my current one.”

I did, really. I did want to try and fix the current computer, because I’ve had it all these years and it’s survived, even though it needed a memory upgrade before I moved to Boston, and I’ve become too attached to it, which is probably why I never sold it even after I got a desktop in Buffalo. Apparently it’s a ridiculous sentiment to have, as pointed out to me by more than one person, so when I was asked why I still want to fix it when all my problems would be solved by getting the new Macbook, I said, “Because I believe in fixing what you already have.”

Is it better to fix what we already have or to just let it go and find a replacement? This doesn’t just apply to the material things we surround ourselves with, but to so many other things in life itself. If it’s something we’ve had for a substantial amount of time and we hold dear, wouldn’t we want to try and salvage what we can of it, instead of giving up on it just because a part of it doesn’t work the way we want it to? It’s not impossible to fix — in the case of my computer, I could dig up one of the old copies of Windows XP lying around the house and hope to God it still works — and even though it may take a while, would the end not justify the means? Or do we shrug (or slump) and say, “It’s just not going to work”?

So when I was admonished today for ignoring Carpe diem — which I seem to be doing a lot in the last few weeks — I said, “OK, I’ll wait and see if my mother offers again,” just like how I would wait and see if I can fix some of the messes in my life.

But as far as my computer is concerned, it really might be time to move on and move up.

2 thoughts on “Salvage or amputate?

  1. lyn

    i bought a new lcd for my bedroom last week replacing the tiny NEC TV i inherited and it’s been with me during my 5 years in sydney. it is probably more than 10 years old but i have a lot of problems letting go of it 🙁

  2. backstagepiphany

    this isn’t like buying a new pair of shoes and dying to wear them at the first available opportunity.

    i got the Macbook today, and it’s now sitting on my bedroom floor. i’m still using the Compaq.


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