Monday, August 11, 2008

The Apple That Was a Lemon

I wanted to believe. I really did. They told me how awesome Macs were, and I believed them, and when I got mine it was wonderful... for one day! I'm not being entirely serious--I mean, I really do think the Macbook is a great computer, and I was overjoyed to receive one as a gift. I just think I'm cursed when it comes to computers. This is what happened...

If you recall, my old laptop, the Lenovo (the official computer of the 2008 Olympics, by the way) had been shutting down intermittently all by itself for no apparent reason, so I sent it away, hoping to get it fixed. Meanwhile, I received the wonderful gift of a Macbook. I set it up, started using it, and everything was wonderful. But then it started shutting down intermittently all by itself. Just like the Lenovo. So there were three possibilities: 1)I've suddenly become magnetic and kill computers with my mere presence. 2)My apartment is located in some bizarre Bermuda Triangle of electricity that kills computers. 3)It was a coincidence, and I just got a bad apple, so to speak. Well, numbers 1 and 2 could not be possible because I haven't killed my computer at work, or the one here at the library, and my roommates both have working computers--one of them a Mac. So, it must be 3.

To seek enlightenment, I journeyed to the Apple "temple" on 5th Avenue. Locals call it that because it's a giant glass cube that rises mysteriously out of the sidewalk and glows at night. Its open 24 hours a day and beckons to people, who flock inside to play with gadgets that I know nothing about. Anyway, there they have what they call their "Genius Bar" where you make a reservation to meet with a computer geek, who teaches you how to use your Mac or your ipod or else diagnoses what is wrong with it. My genius, Dave, was everything you would expect a computer whiz to be. He was small, wiry, talked a mile a minute, had a biting wit, and a pen behind his ear. He told me that the joke he hears the most from his customers is "I bought an Apple but I got a lemon!" The first thing he did was open my Macbook and tell me that the clicking sound it made was not normal. I sighed a breath of relief. He knew what he was talking about, and I knew I could trust him. You know when you go to the doctor, or the car mechanic, and you tell them what's wrong and they nod, but never really seem to believe you? They tell you to take some aspirin and get more rest, and you go away feeling like a crazy person? Well, that's not what happened here.

Dave the genius started fiddling around with my computer and gave it a stress test that maxed out its system, to see if anything would happen. Nothing happened. So he fiddled with it some more and then suddenly it did it. It shut down. We looked at each other, and I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. It wasn't my imagination, which was a good thing. But my new computer was definitely broken, a bad thing. Dave fiddled with it some more and then came to the conclusion that there was a short circuit. With the computer on, he could gently tap the side of it and it would shut down. But it would shut down without being touched at all sometimes. He said they could either try to fix it, or I could exchange it for a new computer. I figured I might as well exchange it, having formed no sentimental attachment to it yet after only a couple days of ownership. He wanted to just give me a new computer right then and there, but his manager said I had to follow the rules and return the thing to where it came from and they would send me a new one. So Dave typed me up a case file and I went along my way.

So, the conclusion is that I am very fortunate to have such wonderful friends who care enough about me to want me to have a Mac, and I am very thankful to have gotten one. However, because I am cursed, I must go through life with computer problems the same way some people get struck by lightning 5 times in their lives or always get the squeaky chair in the library. Nevertheless I am confident that when my new Mac comes, it will be awesome, and maybe it will even break the spell. This past weekend I was talking about it with my dad, the PC champion, and he actually told me that because I am artsy I probably should have a Mac after all. So I'm going to hold on to the dream a little longer.

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