Thursday, August 7, 2008

Karma Karma Karma Kameleon

August is like a month of Sundays.

I've always hated Sundays, except for the morning (if I find myself awake in time to enjoy it). I feel lazy, in limbo, and unsure of whether I should be in the process of wrapping things up or just starting to try. It may be too late, but in the words of Ben Lee, I only want it to begin. And that's what I'm doing by re-opening the forgotten and dusty tomb that has become my blog. I've been writing down ideas but haven't actually fleshed out anything substantial in quite a while.

My "Adventure in Solitude" was anything but. I definitely didn't spend the same amount of time at the computer as before, but I definitely didn't seclude myself like I had hoped. Things come up that need to be taken care of, and I have to use a computer ALL day at work. Thus, staying away from the Evil that the Internet had become was almost impossible. And what can I say? I've been a little lax in my convictions lately, but that's the least of it all.

You may ask, "But why did you thrust yourself into an 'Adventure in Solitude' in the first place? You seem like a rather well-adjusted young lass." Well, this answer is not a simple one. It has a little to do with a series of unfortunate events that made me want to remove myself from civilization and a lot to do with my parents' purchase of a Complete Care Warranty with my former laptop. I had a Dell Inspiron E1505, which a pretty significant portion of my peers also seem to have... and never have had a problem. I think mine was a dud. During my ownership I had had the hinges and screen and dvd drive replaced once and the keyboard replaced twice in two years. However even after these repairs, my DVD drive continued to grrr and purr like a very angry and hungry pregnant lioness... and everyone knows about my delinquently fussy "E" key.

Throughout my troubles I found out that I had this Complete Care Warranty. My brother-in-law told me that it would cover everything but theft.
"On the phone I even asked them: If she throws a party and someone vomits on her computer, is that convered?"

So me mind started turning. Yes, me mind. I had been threatening in conversation for a while, but this summer I finally decided to go through with it. I would destroy my laptop, send it back, and force Dell to show me something good. Late one Thursday night, my accomplice Jackie was making fun of the wobbly laptop screen by flicking it over and over after an exhausting session of Guitar Hero. I told her about the Complete Care Warranty and shared with her my dream. She was enthusiastically receptive. In high school, Jackie was in my circle of friends of Do-Gooders who didn't lie or cheat or steal or drink or have the crazy kind of "fun" that all the "cool" kids were having. Instead, we made inaccurate historical videos about Constantinople and listened to Neil Diamond. (We still listen to Neil Diamond and now me make accurate videos about Constantinople thanks to my lovely freshman-year Byzantine History odyssey with a one Mr. Konstantinos Smyrlis). I chatted online with a Dell Rep and told him that "While I was away, I was told that a large piece of furniture fell on my laptop and someone may have stepped on it." This was all while my lemon of a laptop sat beside me, fully intact despite its numerous flaws.

The foreign man responded, "Do not worry, you have Complete Care Warranty."

So when Jackie supported my idea, that was confirmation enough for me to get on with it... after pestering my brother-in-law about the possible consequences, both material and moral.

I decided to do the deed.

A few days later, after saving and securing all of my very important files (mostly music) onto an external hard drive, it was time. My brother-in-law retrieved one of his 25lb hand weights and set up a chair in front of the house. Jackie joined me outside and my niece scurried past us to her father's lap in the lawnchair. On the way out the door I opend ITunes and tried to find an appropriate track that would provide a soundtrack to this act of rebellion.

The only song I had that seemed appropriate was "I Got Your Money" by Ol' Dirty Bastard. As the song played I placed the laptop down on a piece of the slate pathway. After a few seconds of conversation and nervous hesitation, I held the weight over a corner of the computer




The screen absorbed most of the shock. And the music was still playing. I opened up the laptop and the screen was completely cracked and distorted. It looked like some abstract painting one might encounter at the MoMA. But I could still make out the "play" button, and pressed it. The music resumed. So, I flipped the machine over and dropped the weight around the same area as the first time. The music did not come on again, there was a splendid dent near my hard drive, and the air vent was irreplaceably smushed. Mission Accomplished, much quicker than expected.

So when I sent back the computer is when I tried the whole "Adventure in Solitude" thing. Instead of being in solitude, I umm used everyone else's computers. Including Albany Medical Center's.

The replacement computer they sent me is a refurbished XPS M1530, apparently it's "the" laptop for today. I wouldn't know... because when I got mine, the screen had dancing green pixels that distorted picture and video. AND the audio was crackly and unclear. Was I sent another dud as my punishment? Is this karma? Was Dell getting payback by making me sit on the phone for a total of over 5 hours attempting to fix a machine that was promised to be fully efficient and functional? That was the one warning my brother-in-law had given me, the possible karma that greedily destroying one of my most important possessions in hopes of getting a better one. What I had was great, but not perfect. It just didn't seem like enough for me. But I kept thinking off all the bad things that might happen with it and couldn't stop creating worst-case scenarios in the talking picture machine that's become my mind. I believe this happens in more than just laptops, my dear readers. I needed to try my hand at something better at the expense of others' feelings and time - in this case, the laptop's(?) and the Dell workers. The negative energy was a-flowing out and negative energy was all I got in return. But hey, at least the workers are getting paid, right?

I must say that this whole happening has made me believe in something, maybe not karma exactly, but then again maybe so. Today I was supposed to meet yet another Dell rep at my house at 5:30. Around 4, the city started to dump buckets and buckets of stinging water onto the ground. A gross tan river covered the street I have to cross between work buildings, and the water was up to mid-calf. The sky was unforgiving as I tried to get back to the other building to meet my sister and go home. We left at 4:55. A ride that normally takes 5 minutes ended up taking 50, and on the way I saw a hatchback car on a street that was flooded up to the windows.

Shit was cuh-razy. But I kept a good spirit, joking with my sister about the guy who was drumming on his steering wheel with real drumsticks, the man who rode by on a tiny scooter, and the annoying people who cross the street during red lights - it's an epidemic in Downtown Albany!

I'm starting to learn how to step back from situations and repress my Kebbie instinct to go into Panic Overdrive Mode right away before anything bad happens, and even after it happens. Pre-panicking is always a deadly move and post-panicking doesn't do anything but drain the soul. I honestly believe that if I had started fretting and worrying, the Dell rep might have gotten the vibes and left before I got there. But she didn't. In fact, she was really cool. She enjoyed listening to the household conversations with Mom, my niece, Givne, and I. She was probably an RPI student, but I don't really know. All I do know is that she had to stop working to laugh heartily at an observation I had about Jon & Kate Plus 8, and that was good enough to erase the fact that I had probably stepped in raw sewage mixed with acid rain a mere hour earlier.

"Of course they have to buy organic food. Imagine having to cart around eight fat-ass kids?"

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