This week I said goodbye to an old friend and our parting was bittersweet. We'd spent nearly every day together for more than seven years. Lately, however, he just hadn't been reliable. It was getting so I couldn't count on him to be there when I needed him the most. In my heart, I knew I should move on, but for the last few months I'd been putting off the inevitable. Change can be difficult especially when there's so much history involved. Seven years is a long time - for sure more than six.
In the early days, we'd been inseparable. He helped me with my work in just about every way imaginable - like an administrative assistant or maybe even an office manager. He was smart. He edited my sentences. Assisted with research. Checked grammar and spelling. He even helped with formatting. The guy was a whiz. Until he started slacking.
At first, I noticed him getting sluggish in the afternoons. His reaction times slowed, decreasing productivity. He became temperamental and hot under the collar, having sudden breakdowns for no apparent reason. He even took to crashing - right in my living room. He was getting to be a real turn-off, and despite our history, I knew there had to be something better out there for me.
So I started looking around, you know, to be prepared. I found a replacement almost immediately in a state-of-the-art, sleek-looking model. The new guy promised to be powerful, fast, stylish, revolutionary and thin. Everything a girl could want - from a computer.
According to the online computer store, my guy has all the bells and whistles. He displays unprecedented feats of engineering and imagination along with a really big screen and wireless keyboard. Best of all, he comes equipped with a mega hard drive - to the tune of a terabyte - which in computer terms means lots and lots of storage space. Some will tell you size doesn't matter. When it comes to computer storage, they are lying.
My new computer arrived the other day and I gingerly removed him from his protective packaging. His online photos didn't do him justice; he was even more attractive in real life. Even my kids said he was cool.
For the time being, I set him on the coffee table, across from the computer desk (and old computer) in order to expedite the process of information transfer. The two screens sat facing each other - as though engaged in a heavy debate - and I experienced a twinge of guilt mixed with a certain amount of excitement as I went from one machine to the other, moving files and folders from old to new.
I found myself humming Dueling Banjos as I switched back and forth in a veritable frenzy of cutting, copying, pasting and back-ups. Out with the old, in with the new. My high-performance, technologically advanced computer shimmered in its own brilliant uncompromised vibrancy and I couldn't help but wonder if Old Faithful (who as of late hadn't been so faithful) felt just a smidgen of terabyte envy. I'm sure he would have, if computers had feelings.
After installing software, transferring emails, contact lists, bookmarks, music, photos, videos and movies, the set up process was complete and it was time to make the final, physical move. I unplugged Old Faithful and hoisted him onto the coffee table.
For a moment, the two computers sat within inches of each other. I prepared to move the new guy to his new location, but in a spur of the moment decision, grabbed Old Faithful instead. I carried him into another room, to a pleasant spot, near a window, away from the hoopla. He'd been a good friend for seven years. No need for him to have to witness his replacement firsthand. I owed him at least that much. Out with the old.
In with the new. I moved Mr. Sleek and Flashy to the coveted spot on the computer desk where he'll sit for the next seven years (hopefully more). I plugged him in and he's nearly finished with his first column. Not bad for a rookie. Welcome to my world, my state-of-the-art computer friend. Let's give that terabyte of yours a run for its money.
Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, playwright and author of "The Do-It-Yourselfer's Guide to Self-Syndication" You can read more columns at the Slices of Life page on Facebook.