At least with death, you are coached early in life with the loss of hamsters, goldfish and the childhood spirit kicked to death during those hormonally enraged high school years. These helping you grasp the fact that something or someone you love will eventually pass on, leaving you standing there wondering what the hell is going on and you feel like a big part of you is now gone.
It was this feeling of grief, helplessness and emptiness that I looked at the light on my laptop poof away in a blaze of smoke and sparks. When I say blaze, rather I mean the tiniest little flutter of a spark and just a hint of burning metal. The significance of it all meant that it might as well have exploded leaving a gaping hole in the place where my house once stood.
The latter would have been less inconvenient.
My laptop was broken - No power, no life, and no hope.
I know you might be reading this and saying to yourself 'It is probably easily fixed' but I know my laptop like a mother knows her own child. Although physically, it was still there I knew deep down that its essence, the thing that made it special, its soul was gone. I have been wearing a black veil ever since. When you find a loved one dead, you call an ambulance and make sure the body is in the vicinity of a doctor at some point in the preceding couple of hours - even if it is just to confirm the worst, so you can try and deal with the aftermath, as quickly and painlessly as possible.
So it was with this need to have someone slap me in the face and confirm the worst. My laptop was dead - it was so dead that in the computer repair shop a little squeaky dwarf sang a little song and unrolled an eloquently written 'Death Certificate' All melodramatically overdone and I was 35 pound down for the pleasure of this bad news.
As I made way home, head down in the rain, a chorus of the Celine Dion mega smash hit 'All by Myself' played in my head. I felt cold, naked and alone. I was half way home when I realized that 'Home' was slowly rotting away in my bag and the only thing of interest waiting for me when I got in, was a fridge full diet and bland foods. My current weight loss regime meant nothing without being able to brag about it to my online friends. The option of going home and stuffing my face seemed a boring prospect – there is no joy found in plain chicken and brown rice let me tell you.
I thought back to times when I never had a laptop and if I am honest those memories were filled with me frolicking in the hills; book in hand ready to take on the world.
Simple fact is, during times when I was sans laptop and if memory serves me correctly, I was skinnier, more productive, more reliable (No, I can't come today...I uh..have work to do) and better read. Although I had no idea what was going on in the world, instead of my weekly helping of EastEnders courtesy of BBC IPlayer - Every time I got near internet access I trawled through the World Wide Web for compilation videos of Kat Slater’s best bits and I could relax knowing I had seen everything I needed to see.
I also missed major events in the lives of my nearest and dearest acquaintances - break ups, the odd get together, falling out - all wonderfully unremarkable but a staple of my day - without Facebook telling me everyone around me was having a worst time than I was - what could I use to boost own self esteem?
When I was given the diagnosis of death, immediate thoughts of who could help came to mind, calling home, putting on my saddest 'help me Mummy' voice would have a there would be a laptop and care package filled with healthy foods and statements of disappointment would be at my front door before I could get the key in but something held me back from doing so. I would like to say pride but it could also have been a simple case of picking my battles - I have a holiday coming up and the chance that I may need a sudden injection of cash for missed flights, bail and court costs - far outweighed the need for a computer device. My Mother gets it, she also has a laptop which she uses on daily basis but after several years has still not grasped the most basic of functions but she soldiers on like a trouper - pounding the keyboard with her fists and the odd swear word and still managing to send me semi-coherent message telling me she has discovered Skype - Or even better call me on her mobile, at extortionate rates to tell me of the benefits of Skype.
So she gets it, In fact I would even surmise that she thinks it keeps me off the streets and out of trouble little does she know, instead of ordering take away at 3 in the morning in the comfort of my own bed from Just-Eat, I will now need to wander around the city in my pajamas underneath my good coat (One balances out the other) to find an open take away. Without the assistance of the internet - I could be put in the throes of more danger than I could have ever imagined.
I have never been a conventional television viewer and I liked to be one those pricks that bragged about never watching television, implying I didn't agree with the hold it had over society whilst at the same time, loosing days to Netflix – Sometimes even weeks. But I never kept to the schedule laid out in TV Guides but watched shows in my own time at my own leisure – I don’t even own a TV I would claim proudly – I can still stay that now. But now I say through tears, whilst friends comfort me with reassuring pats on the back.
But now I was facing the prospect of having neither. But I still had a library card – which always seemed like one of the perks of being a living breathing tax paying citizen – I haven’t paid any tax this year from what I can only gather is some kind of clerical error in the tax office and I haven’t yet gotten around to telling them because they might be a bit busy and alerting them to this error seems akin with telling your waiter he didn't charge for the portion of chicken wings you had as a starter. You just don’t do it. But now it seems like an absolute necessity and should be a basic human right.So in the preceding days I have spent even more time in the library and sometimes, I don’t even check in on Facebook to let people know I am there. I am not saying this is something I always did in the past – before making my way to the nearest Starbucks to read heat magazine. I had an empty desk, which had less dust on the surface where my laptop used to sit, not unlike the white chalk outline that episodes of Law and Order have thought me is common at the scene of a murder. I could only fill this empty space with books – There is a little metaphor wrapped up in real life there somewhere. In case you didn't notice.
I am not a book snob, so I am pleased to tell you I have read some not so great literary classics about wrestling, about being a drug dealer, about Amazon and Tesco’s history and I am currently reading a collection of stories from bouncers and bodyguards. I am feeding my mind – but not necessarily my body.
As I alluded to earlier I am currently on a weight loss regime. I want to be healthier and more active and I used to do this by standing by water fountains and watching people, skinnier people, run on treadmills – I am quite good on a treadmill I must admit but I find it so ball achingly boring that its hard to put any gusto behind it. I just hoped that the walk to and from the gym is enough work to give me Adonis like credibility. But now I go to a less up market gym where the equipment is sticky and worn, and standing around doesn't look so conspicuous because there is a queue to use everything – I mean everything. But I also feel less self-conscious around people who have opted to use this gym; there is something that says you are not too serious about losing weight when you pay so little. But this gym also has a pool and I am good in a pool, I can swim well and its working out but not really, because it is actually fun and it doesn't feel like you are doing anything to strenuous. But without Netflix or a boyfriend to go home to, I have absolutely no reason to be at home and I can’t expect the friends I have managed to keep over the years – to walk the streets with me without even the prospect of a hot drink because I can’t afford hot drinks. Well I can, but only during a small 12 hour window after pay day. But that is a whole other issue which I will get back to later.
So I find myself going to the gym and not counting down the seconds, so I jump on the treadmill fighting off others who have skipped the subtle queue system. This mostly entails standing near the machine you want to use, looking at your watch and tutting loudly. I find myself being on there longer than I have ever been – this could possibly be down to the fact I can watch Coronation Street. But I won’t argue over semantics, all that matters is the end result.
Once I have worked out/caught up on the latest Tina and Peter scandal, I reward myself with a swim. If it’s not filled with kids or Asians swimming like bullets up and down the slow lane, ruining it for everyone. But I do like swimming and I get to shower at the gym which means I am not spending additional and scarce funds on electricity. So far this week, I have spent most of my spare time at the gym this past week that I spend very little time at home or in stores or coffee shops spending beyond my means.
I have a job, which might shock some and I earn about the average wage for my age group and socio economic status (I have no Idea what this means but it makes me sound like I do so I will carry on) and I lack any desire to have responsibilities – I can just about tear myself out of bed in the morning. So I have very few bills or debts. But I never have any money and I never have anything to show for it – Now you might be wondering how this relates to my broken laptop. Relax, I will get there. But get this, I don’t have the money to buy a new one which is fine because not many people can bang out £400 pounds worth of electrical goods at the drop of a hat. The absence of Facebook, Twitter, Fitlads, Gaydar, Pornhub, Blogger, Bebo, Myspace, MSN Chat, Buzzfeed, Huffington Post, Tickld, Lamebook, Failblog, BBC News, BBC IPlayer, Rockettube, and so on got me thinking about other ways that my subconscious would scream out for entertainment – I was foreseeing spending splurges which would kill not only my crippling bank balance (Which now sits at 17 pence. YES! 17 whole pence) But also my waistline. But it didn't go like that, quite the opposite in fact. I still have that 17 pence and my waistline has not expanded but has in fact shrunk. This has presented plethora of other problems such as my belt and trousers now being too big. But let’s not dwell on the negative.
I leave the house at 7 in the morning and I don’t back till 10 in the evening and I shouldn't really brag because it has only been a week but I predict big things in the coming days – But I have my first big hurdle to get over first. I am terrified of what I might do to tackle the two most daunting things I have ever had to face, unarmed and unprepared.