So this week my trusty MacBook died.
I was sitting in Bali after a full day of shoot getting some work done when I got a call, a call I had been waiting for for a long time. Elation, celebrations, etcetera. And then within the hour, my MacBook, which had been running perfectly for years, spontaneously swelled and burst from the spillover joy (or so I choose to believe). The screen turned black, the machine started heavy breathing, and the keyboard decided it was no longer part of the entire equation and committed harakiri. There I was, with a computer that was ready to be succeeded, and that had not the courtesy of waiting till I’d selected its replacement to see itself out. And my word, how annoying.
I’m annoyed because of how expensive MacBooks are, and how Apple seems to be increasingly unbothered with hiding the fact that they’re taking the mickey out of us. From the decision to change all ports and get rid of half of them, to the new keyboards no one asked for, to removing the SD card slot which has been absolutely essential to anyone who even vaguely deals with photography… it has been a series of why after why’s. And I am more annoyed with myself than anything, for locking myself into the MacOS and being unable to turn to cheaper, more value-for-money alternatives. I do a lot of writing, and I’ve fallen in love with (and therefore become totally dependent on) Mac’s Pages, especially for my more formal work. And while I can technically go back and change everything to Word, it’s hundreds and hundreds of documents I’m talking about..
So yes, I can do it, sure, but as trite as it sounds, there is so much going on right now, and I just don’t have the time or energy to re-learn navigating operating systems or doing compatibility checks for months / years of precious work. In other words, I am paying a premium to stay in my comfort zone, and that knowledge irritates me, the awareness that there is an alternative within reach, and that for a variety of reasons, that I am not reaching out for it.
Part of me knew to just suck it up and get a new one as soon as possible – it’s that time of the year where work is nonstop, and I cant afford to be paralysed by a petty anger at the capitalist machinations of mega brands. And I was relatively lucky – the computer died right before a trip, so I essentially had a day to quickly research the computer I wanted before getting it at the airport (where you can get electronics tax free, working out to an approximate hundred dollar discount off the MacBook). But the more I googled the more annoyed I got: at the convoluted lineup of computers, the fluff and hot air of branding, the clear neglecting of the cheaper, more accessible models. I ended up getting the MacBook Pro without the Touch Bar, which is the cheapest MBP available (the basic MacBooks have abominable specs for their price tag) and essentially the iPhone X of MacBooks (newish, but already obsolete), and on top of that I had to get a silver dongle-like thingum from a third party reseller just to allow myself to attach USB cords to my computer. Trust me, I would have done without it if I could, but thanks to the new removal of the SD card slot, I need to get an external SD card reader, which then has to be plugged into a USB port, which the MacBook doesn’t have. Condemnations, seriously.
The real kicker came when I unwrapped my new MBP and tried to pack it into my hand carry. The new MBPs are admittedly very sleek and much lighter than the older macbooks, and I suppose I will get used to the butterfly keyboard eventually, as with all things. But the new MacBook charger, for some damned reason, had elected to get rid of the previously very handy notches around which one could wind the charging wires into a neat little bundle. No, no, organisation be damned. The new chargers now are smooth like a dolphin’s underbelly, with no grip nor notch in sight, leaving the long charging cable to flop around uselessly in one’s bag, inevitably tangling with other cords and wires, such as the stupid additional dongle wire one has to purchase along with the new macbooks. For two thousand dollars you would think Apple would throw us at least a bone. But no. Instead we have: the touch bar.
I know, I know. I’m being petty. The fact stands that I was able to get a new computer more or less immediately after my old one died (major throwback to six years ago, when I was literally bawling in an apple authorised service center because my computer died suddenly and I simply couldn’t afford to get a new one.. I certainly terrified all the sales staff that day, let me tell you, there is nothing quite as desperate as a broke student just trying to pass), and at a discount at that. There are blessings to be counted and I have done the math. But does that reality contradict the one where Apple is being, as they say, a lil bitch? No it does not. And that intersection of irritation is where I currently reside, arms akimbo, waiting for my petty anger to slowly dissipate and melt into resignation, which I can already see creeping towards me from the horizon.