My favorite writing trope is ‘the process’. It is the apparent frame of mind that a writer gets into that allows them to churn out works of fiction or nonfiction as the case may be.
Asking my father about this would certainly help; seeing as how he is an established writer.
My own process is the frantic running around of a single man in an apartment, cooking a one-pot pasta (even when the recipe expressly asked him not to) with store bought sauce, realizing halfway through that he forgot to add the olive oil and the garlic and proceeding to turn on a second burner (thereby defeating the point of a one pot pasta) to saute some garlic in olive oil to pour into the pasta, tasting it, smacking his lips, calling it tasty and living in the bliss that it is his word against the void and there is nobody to answer to.
The pasta was supposed to be a metaphor for the writing but clearly there is more to unpack here.
This idea was sparked by the changes or lack thereof in the world of people and materials that make us pick up patterns subconsciously in the things that we see and do.
This pertains to material changes. Specifically to the ownership of laptops.
The year was 2011. We were in our second year of engineering.
Sillunu oru kaadhal and Vaaranam Aayiram were closer to us then than we are to 2011 now. Everyone and their dog was Gowtham, 2nd year mechanical engineering in their heads.
It was also the first time that someone I personally knew owned a personal laptop. It was sleek, it was black and it had ‘AMD Radeon’ on a red holographic sticker. This was well before I dove headfirst into being a computer nerd but that was the first thing that caught my eye about that laptop. Another detail that caught my eye from the first time I saw it was the fact that it had two headphone ports. Now that I think about it, one of them might have been a microphone port but we have a collective memory of plugging two headphones and listening to the audio coming out of the laptop. It also had one of those weird half-height up and down arrow keys.
Owning a personal laptop at 18 is by itself not a huge deal. But, you have to remember that this was in 2011, in India, where smartphones were barely a thing, android was still a chunky mess, Windows 7 was the lord commander of the operating systems and the most common form of installing an operating system was still an optical drive.
On that subject, I do not remember if that computer had an optical drive. This is a detail I should remember. Why? Because between 2011 and 2017, I mostly lived with or in the vicinity of that laptop and by extension, the person who owns it. He is one of the greatest people I have ever known and deserves a post all for himself but this is about the primitive tech from the early 2010s.
Now, let me paint a timeline of my tech ownership. This also illustrates my slow descent to being a tech junkie and eventual madness.
Owned my first laptop in 2012. Crashed it enough to cause the motherboard to fail and then the maintenance tech took it up a notch by putting a literal hole through it. The shriveled husk of that laptop sits in the closet of my childhood home, collecting dust.
Acquired a second laptop in 2017 after moving to the USA. Drove its battery to the ground in three years but breathed some life into it with a RAM and SSD upgrade. This is where the desire to hoard tech begins.
A 2-in-1 notebook came along in 2018 because my laptop-laptop was getting heavy to lug around to all the classes. I should have been smart like my roommates and gotten myself a thin and light in the first place. Hindsight is 2020 and my laptop-laptop could play games on it. The 2-in-1 sits in the closet of my adult apartment, not collecting dust because I vacuum and wipe the palace down every other week.
The year is 2020, the pandemic has begun and Linus Tech Tips (tech YouTuber) asked people to get their computers now because of global supply chains and what not. So I did. The assembled desktop is now technically the fifth computer because of the two raspberrypi boards that are doing their thing on the side.
As I have graduated from watching YouTube on a laptop to a gaming desktop, my friend talked to me about finally switching to a new laptop. We have spent a week picking out options. He spent nine years using and maintaining one laptop and now is finally making the switch.
The short term theme is a tech hoarder and disposable income do not mix very well.
The overarching theme is one that made me look at how human behavior is somewhat tied to the material world around us. In a sample size of two, it is fairly obvious to say he is a responsible person. In an age of fleeting electronics and products baked in with obsolescence, using the same laptop for nine years is nothing short of a miracle.
On the other hand, I would not describe myself as irresponsible; there are other people who are ready to do that. What I will say is, if I were to make a list of excuses for all the money I have spent towards material purchases since my first paycheque, that would be a post of its own. So, as my reader, please let me know if that is something you’d be interested in reading. Some of the items include a drone, a bluetooth speaker and a coffee machine.
Last thing to ponder before you’re off to whatever was going on before this post interrupted your life — he did not take away the protective peel off the screen for the longest time which basically makes him the tech world’s equivalent of a monster.