My laptop took ill last week. And since then, I’ve been cheating on it.
I expected to feel bad, but I don’t.
“Wanton, aren’t you?” said Mary.
“I never made any promises.”
“Didn’t you?” she said, smiling. “Wasn’t that you with the warranty?”
“The warranty expired,” I said coyly. “Besides, writing has nothing to do with the keyboard.”
And it doesn’t.
I wrote everything longhand until just three years ago.
“When you write,” asked my boss at the time, “how do you do it?”
“What do you mean,” I said. “You mean like how do I find the time, or how, physically, do I do it?”
“I write it out. I have a favorite pen, Mr. Black, and I write it out, every other line, in a notebook.”
She looked at me sideways. “Isn’t it your birthday in a couple weeks?”
“You have my credit card?”
I was her assistant. She knew I had her credit card. “Yes.”
Gayle had a way of looking you directly in the eyes at times, and she did it now. “Use it. Buy yourself a laptop.”
I stared at her.
She turned to pick up her phone. I turned to leave.
“Pearl?” she called.
I faced her.
“Don’t go over a thousand.”
Like so many other things I believed could not be improved upon – hot fudge malts, grilled food, sex – it was again proven to me that what you start out with is probably not the experience’s pinnacle.
My Birthday Present, as I came to think of it, was fudge after a lifetime of chocolate.
And now? Yes. I am wantonly cheating on it.
My Birthday Present would want it that way, don’t you think? I mean, it was always about the end product, not about the way we got there.
Besides. It’s an object.
I’ve become a computer opportunist.
Hey, you mind if I use your computer for a bit?
Friends and family have been gracious about it, and I am forced, as they say, to get it where I can. I write, visit blogs, comment frantically. How long can this go on? How long before I run out of my supply of people’s goodwill and am forced downtown to hold a cardboard sign that says Will Work for Internet Access?
As it turns out, a couple of weeks.
My Birthday Present will be back fully functioning – we have an understanding, after all – and I will once again have easy access to the space between both my and others’ minds and written words in roughly two weeks.
Until then, I live by my wits and stalk the wild keyboard.
11 hours ago