Laptop: my girlfriend.

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It’s remarkable, the relationship between a human and his technology. Our phones, tablets, and laptops become like friends to us: able to console, entertain, and betray. They can frustrate us, stand us up, and even completely blow us off, and, just like any of our close friends, when betrayal strikes, trust is lost.

I’ve had my laptop since my sophomore year of college – I’ll let you guess how long ago that was; a lady never tells her age – and she has been on quite a few adventures with me. She was there for me during every lecture, through every paper I handed in (late), six seasons of Lost, seven seasons of Boy Meets World, and eight seasons of Doctor Who. She was my companion when I began my journey as a writer, ditching five paragraph essays for quirky poems and short stories and even the odd screenplay. Now, I have a Mac, so I’ve never had the constant fear of my computer crashing, getting sick, or going crazy. She was reliable and unwavering in her loyalty to me.

And then she crashed.

I don’t know what happened. Maybe it was one spreadsheet too many, but suddenly, my screen froze, I got the pinwheel of death and everything went black. She woke up after a few agonizing minutes, asking if I would like to send crash reports. No. No crash reports, I thought, solemnly. Nothing can make up for this level of betrayal. For, she didn’t crash in the middle of an episode. She didn’t crash while I was about to Complete Check Out on Amazon. She crashed when I was twenty pages in on a Meditative Writing stint I’d been on for two hours.

“What an idiot you are for not saving, if you’re writing for that long!” you may say. Well, I say that, too, but when you’re “meditative writing,” the point is, you’re not thinking about saving your work, getting up to pee, or grabbing a glass of water. You’re thinking about writing. only writing. non-stop writing. stream of consciousness. The only rules in Meditative Writing are 1. Tell the Truth and 2. Don’t Stop Writing. So, she crashed.

If you know anything about Macs, you know that this incident is not the end of the world because, most of the time, the product is saved or recoverable. Yes, it is, but though this was not the end of the world, it was absolutely the end of our relationship. I had no choice but to break up with my laptop after that. The trust was lost. gone. forever. irreparable. We tried to make it work for a few weeks, but the trust couldn’t be built back. I was saving my work every five minutes, thus interrupting my meditation, blocking me.

So I got an iPad.

My laptop is still here. She’s still in the picture, and I use her for my other work. Spreadsheets, bookkeeping, as a DVD player, but that’s it. Nothing more than a booty call.

maybe I should eat something

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Ever sit down to write something (completely inspirational) and the second the blank page loads and the cursor blinks at you as if challenging you – daring you – to say something, and suddenly, the only thing you can think of is “hm. maybe I should eat something.”?

I am 36,956 feet in the air, flying somewhere over the border of Nebraska and South Dakota, and I’ve just ordered a cheese plate from a tablet attached to the seat in front of me. A cheese plate and Chex Mix delivered straight to my seat. Oh, and I’m blogging about it. We live in this world of immediacy and convenience and we still have something to complain about.

My question is, is the complaining something to complain about? Maybe complaining is our opportunity to seek improvement. The more we can complain, the more we can innovate and make better. Now, there are some who wish the world would JUST STOP for at least a second, I know, but while it may seem overwhelming, innovation is human.

Take, for example, the guy who invented the little plastic things on the ends of our shoelaces. Who was he before doing that? Just a guy who said “Man, it’s annoying re-lacing my shoes with these stupid fraying ends. We need to make a thing to help prevent fray-age.” Or the guy who invented the hot cup sleeve or those plastic inserts to stop spillage. Those stemmed from somebody complaining. “Oh, this cup is hot.” and “$#!&, I keep spilling!”

Now, the argument is ” do we really need this stuff?” a watch that is a phone, a tablet, iPod, phone, phone watch, ear buds, earphone speakers, and a kindle? No, maybe not always. Maybe a 12 year old doesn’t need every one of those, or a teenager, or a toddler. But imagine how drastically your workscope, workspace, work place has changed since we’ve been introduced to these devices. The designer has a portable office. The writer, too. The service industry is vastly more convenient and accessible now. Especially now that customers are taking longer with each sale to “Pause for text message,” and “pause for instagram photo,” and “wait I have to tweet that,” and “Hold on, I’m checking in on Four Square.”

The marketing world is forced to think outside the box – outside all the boxes. In a world overstimulated, how do you reach your audience? In a world of Fast Forward and Skip This Ad, how can you be heard? Everyone is screaming to be heard, yet no one is listening.

There’s my complaint. So where’s the innovation?