Confessions of a Luddite

I am not now, nor have I ever been, a techie. I learned my computer skills on a Mac, and I have been an adoring follower of Apple ever since. Every time I see Windows at work, I sneer at how they try to emulate the real thing: the Mac operating environment. Only clunkier. It is like watching hand-drawn cartoons in high-definition. Regular readers of this blog expect a daily post, but my valiant laptop, alas, had what is akin to a religious experience and I’m losing it. I’ve done my blog posts from that laptop for nearly two years. I sometimes work on them during the long commute to New York City. When my Mac Book encountered the plethora of signals from a Manhattan office building, it froze up. At home it no longer recognizes my base-station router. With my limited technical knowledge I’ve tried every trick on the Internet that doesn’t involve some Geek God going off into jargon that a humble reader of ancient languages can’t understand. I am grieving.

Yesterday, thinking about my plight, I saw the parallels with religious experience. My laptop in my eighth-floor office is like Moses climbing Mount Sinai, but less robust than the 80-year-old prophet. Having encountered a higher being—signals from the heavens, hundreds of them—it has bowed in acquiescence. It has received an epiphany that I missed while going about my daily editing duties. When it returned home, it was not able to recognize the one signal that has been its lord and master since it was first booted up. Nothing from restarting the router to reinstalling the entire factory-set system to clearing and restricting the access to the one true network has helped. My computer, to borrow a phrase from Atwood, has gone into a fallow state. That is a kind way of saying it is a mere paperweight or doorstop.

According to the standard interpretation, that is similar to an encounter with the divine. It leaves you marked, transformed. Sometimes incapacitated. Or perhaps the correct analogy is that of idolatry. My computer has gone on after foreign gods and no longer recognizes the one who gave it birth. I have suffered through two sleepless nights because of it. I even visited the local Apple store where they suggest I clear the AirPort history. Like I know what that means. Perhaps I have the analogy all wrong. Maybe my computer is the deity and I am the acolyte. It is mysterious and powerful and I am left in tears after an encounter with it. But really, it feels like a friend has died. I haven’t been able to post my quirky observations. I have to borrow a friend’s computer. Am I a prophet or just another Luddite awaiting my own theophany?

6 thoughts on “Confessions of a Luddite

  1. A law of parsimony — “When ‘Apple’ is a sufficient expanation, there is no need to have recourse to any other”. 🙂

    I assume you’re affiliated with a university so swallow your pride and wander over to the computer science department and find a student assistant. Faculty are used to seeing such “wandering seekers” and will kindly point the way to the nearest sage. After a suitable laying on of hands, I’m sure your instrument of idolatry will soon again be accepting your worship.

    — Ishmael

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    • Ishmael–may I call you Ishmael?–thanks for your advice. Unfortunately I am no longer with any college or university. I fixed the problem through good, old-fashioned determination and leaving no metaphorical rock unturned. It made me wish I had the resources that universities can afford!

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  2. Delightful. Crazy. Best wishes with your grieving process.

    I came back here. Belatedly to thank you. For your movie review of Deliverance. Your review motivated me to watch it. Again. Last night. I think I may have seen your laptop floating downstream. It’s the kind of experience anyone gets who thinks that Apple technology is pure and pristine – the last stretch of wild river. So I’m praying for you. That you don’t go to sleep … and dream … of your notebook sticking its dead, wireless hand up out of the river. Making you scream, “NO!” Just returning some of the – joy – the movie brought me. ~ Jim

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  3. Thanks for your show of support, everyone. What really worries me is how attached I’ve become to the Internet. A bit disturbing, really…

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