Of Laptops, old and new

Having a new laptop means I am now faced with the arduous task of transferring everything from the old laptop to the new one. Now I know something as banal as that shouldn’t have made me all philosophical or emotional, but well, it did. I mean, have you ever realized that more than information or files that you accumulate in seven years’ time, it is about memories? Of the places you’d been in, both literal and figurative… of people you’d met and exchanged stuff with… of how much you’ve grown in some aspects and how in the rest you’ve never really changed… With this being the digital age, and us being blessed with more and more ways to store stuff easily (I mean, hullo portable external hard drives!) unless you are really unlucky to get a crashed drive or something, it means you have the ability and enough memory to store memories (see what I did there?) all your life. Which is…. something, eh?

My first laptop, the one I had as a computer applications student, was an unimpressive Compaq that I treasured more than anything else. It was where I watched movies all night long, listened to endless playlists on loop over and over again, and most importantly, started this blog. Oh, yeah, I did some coding and my final year project in it as well. But that really was not the main purpose it was used for. That was the laptop that saw the most exchange of stuff… being in a campus meant thumb drives were passed back and forth like a bag of popcorn. I remember how each time I’d send my laptop with a friend to update the antivirus or fix something (which wasn’t a surprise given how my laptop was admittedly a thumb drive slut) it would  come back with a new folder of songs or movies. Which is why most of the stuff that I had there I could associate with one friend or another. That was also the laptop where I stored all of my photos from even before I had the laptop, so it had photos of a skinny me from graduation days, and surprisingly, some from before (scans of physical  photos, ah… those were the days) From the slightly hesitant girl with long hair to the imp with pixie cut hair and a brand new attitude, to the would-be bride with stars in her eyes, those photos were testimony to how much I had changed over the years. That laptop saw me hunched over for episode after episode of The Big Bang Theory or Castle, and the night before exams, trying to make sense of what seemed like a thousand PPTs and PDFs. Towards the last semester, it also saw me make googly eyes (yes, I am ashamed) with the long distance fiance. I loyally lugged that laptop with me to Vietnam after I got married, and it gave me company during lonely days when I played the love-stricken newly wed waiting for evening for her husband to come home part to the tee. When I started CELTA, that laptop was my lifeline, and I would sit in front of it, typing furiously, working so hard I could almost hear my mind whirring, ignoring the husband or the plate of food in front of me. Until one day, after four years of being my trustworthy ally, it crashed and burned leaving me laptop-less in a time when I couldn’t afford to be laptop-less, bang in the middle of CELTA.

And that’s when the Sony Vaio came in, with its tiny 11” screen and amazingly practical keyboard. It’s light weight meant that I could now carry it with me everywhere without any hassle. I transferred 4 years’ worth of memories, movies, and music, into it without putting much thought to it because again, I was in the middle of CELTA so it was a very hurried dump and delete business done over the weekend. Being brand new, it had no personality, and was shamelessly used just during the CELTA and then ignored right after. I was a little in mourning; the old laptop and I had seen so much together. Towards the end, my old laptop had the letter “E” missing (yes, of all letters, the most important letter in the English alphabet), and I used to love being the only one who could type on it. We had something special, and the new laptop was just a commodity that I needed. But yes, after we reached Malaysia, I decided I should probably give the new laptop a chance, and so carried it with me to the KLCC towers on the first week of our arrival, and sat down with it in a Starbucks, and over coffee, poured my heart out to it in the form of a blog post. That’s how the two year long relationship started, and gradually the Vaio started winning my faith. That has to be the laptop that saw the most downloads, and thanks to our newly found love for the laptop+big TV screen+HDMI cable combination, it became indispensable for our weekend lounging movie marathons. It also had a lot more space so it saw a lot more memories… More photos… From newly wed bride to reluctant housewife (curse you employment laws in Malaysia!) to glowing would-be Mom. And then, one fine day it got filled with photos of a wrinkly red newborn and then documented that newborn grow until she turned one! More music… Oh, a lot more music… More movies that then got sorted and shifted to hard disks in routine intervals. More TV series (I started watching The Mentalist, Damages, and yes, Modern Family in it) to obsess over…

So, the now old laptop houses seven years’ worth of documents, photos, random incomplete short stories that I fully intend to finish writing someday, a conglomeration of vague notes to myself written in moments of extreme emotion, in turns curt I and inspirational, depending on the mood, that folder of *ahem* workout videos that mocks me each time I come across it and hurriedly close, wallpapers, oh dear so many wallpapers from back when having a massive collection of wallpapers was like being the bee’s knees (now I really wonder why), all my teaching material from CELTA and beyond that I religiously kept in one place in hope that someday they might be of use, installers of a number of software that I can’t live without, my vast collection of ebooks, both PDFs and ePubs that I love to hate and hate to love because I believe the only way to read is with the feel of paper beneath your fingers, but most of all, all the music that I had collected over seven years. That’s a lot of music, in case you haven’t figured that out already.

And now I have to make sure this swanky new thing gets its share of personality and memories… after all, it has to carry the torch that has been burning for seven years. Sigh… in with the new, but never really out with the old. This is where you pass me the wine, please. Thank you.

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