Thursday, November 8, 2007

15. Fill the Gaps

This might be a little ambitious, and I will therefore get partway through and then end suddenly because of my hatred for posts longer than a window's length, but when I read this prompt I immediately thought of my computer. My computer and I have been through a lot during the past 4 years, and I'd like to tell a few stories about it.

I remember getting the computer, pulling it out of the Apple box and turning it on for the first time. I vowed never to drink water near it or slam the lid or type with dirty hands. It was so shiny and white, so pristine.

At some point I read a funny passage on about a handwritten "IOU Blanks" looking like "Lou Blanis," and how that would be a great name for a character in a book. I bestowed that name onto my computer, and to this day the screensaver that pops up is nothing more than the words Lou Blanis, with a silver Apple icon underneath.

Lou has been taken on road trips, to play movies and tv episodes with the audio fed through the car stereo. As we drove through the god-forsaken west half of Alberta, we blasted a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert through the car, giggling to ourselves as the bassist drooled on himself in a musical stupor.

During a lonely weekend in Parts Unknown when my roommates were out drinking with friends, I sat at home and meticulously colored the backs of all the translucent keys with fabric paint. I mixed up the M and the W, though, so they're the wrong colors. This only irks me when I really think about it, about how that stupid W is the same color as that stupid S, and there they are, in their adjacent same-colored matchingness.

Some of my favorite memories with my computer are from that time in Parts Unknown, that time when I was a junior and had lots of big important classes with big important papers to write. I learned early on that it was impossible to write a paper in my own apartment, where my bed and fridge and tv were, so I found a few other places to go. I found that to write a ten-page paper, I needed a pint of chocolate milk, sold in a mini-gallon-jug shape in the dorms' convenience store. I would walk downstairs in my big hoodie with my computer, buy a chocolate milk, then head to one of three places: this big pit-like area in the middle of the Education building, which was lined with carpeted benches, the completely depressing tiny room with three old computers in it on the 4th floor of the dorms, or the top floor of the library, where the space-age couches and table were. I generally preferred the library because there weren't too many people in the periodicals, and because the couches were so cool, and because the fifth floor afforded an amazing view of the flat flat city, and looking through the window at a snowstorm at night is such a comforting feeling. I would sit and type, looking out of the window every so often. Every time I finished a paragraph I rewarded myself with a drink of my chocolate milk- straw sticking out the top of the jug. I'm sure I looked like a lazy hog, sitting on a couch for hours on end, guzzling chocolate milk, but the papers got written.

My computer is older now, it has a hard time doing multiple things at once. It's no longer pristine and white; it's all fingerprinty and smudged grey and it's got an "I Voted" sticker stuck under the option key that's also fingerprinty and smudged grey. I've typed with dirty hands, but I never did spill water on the keyboard. It's had a pretty full life, and I hope to keep on with it for a while longer. Here's to you, Lou.

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