This week the reader will notice a distinct improvement in the quality of my writing.
An ironing out of my customary stylistic jitters, something of a swagger even. A deployment of commas and clauses that could only be described as serene. Overall, a smoothing of the rough edges you will no doubt have noted in previous dispatches.
A calm creaminess.
The reason for these enhancements is the arrival – this very morning – of the Hirohama 5000.
I’ve unpacked it and cranked the little beauty up on the dining table where I sit. It gazes back at me, soundless. Ok, a slight hum. There are numerous little lights. Brushed metal cools my wrist as my fingertips nestle in its concave keys. Typing is like putting sleepy digits to bed. Not all of the little lights are the same; one of them blinks! And oh, the left click. It’s been a while since I’ve operated a left click of this calibre, I can tell you.
All a far cry from the Hurling-Plank 260w. I eschew bitterness, and far be it from me to present myself as some kind of tech authority, but I’m not going to mince my words here; the Hurling-Plank 260w was not a good machine.
Flaking is a quality I welcome in pastry. On an old wooden fence it’s fair enough. Medicated shampoo is available for scalps that do it. It has its place, is what I’m saying. On a laptop, I’m pretty sure it shouldn’t happen. Put yourself in my shoes, Mr. Hurling, and imagine how I felt when after just a couple of months my at-the-time-incredibly-expensive-for-me 260w began to flake.
Also, I do not believe that one could reasonably expect regular use of a touch pad to result in a divot in the middle of it. It looked like a muddy goalmouth on a rainy day. Nor does one expect one’s machine to have a susceptibility to respiratory infections. The 260w, by the sound of it, had tuberculosis.
I’m not talking about an old machine; it isn’t as if I ran it into the ground. The poor thing never thrived. Problems came up almost at once, the most maddening of which – at first – was a broken left click. It was a like a plastic seesaw – the finger had to find the fulcrum in order to execute this most basic of functions. One false move and one had double-clicked. Literally a balancing act.
Not that my ride with the Hirohama Corporation has been an entirely smooth one. My initial selection was the rather stylish 5010z. It had a couple of extra blinking lights and was electric blue, so I had joined the colourful laptop club. I felt frivolous, but good.
I sent it back – it had a fault. Just the one, but the effect on my cholesterol was instantaneous. The left click! The most important button on the machine and therefore – for many of us – the most important button, period. I could not live with a squeaky left click, not after a solid eighteen months of the Hurling-Plank 260w teeter-totter travesty.
Still, all is well. The 260w is in a box and the Hirohama 5000 is on the table in front of me. My new office. My trusty mule. My devoted sidekick. Perhaps it was wrong of me to expect the Hurling-Plank to be a work-horse. The still barely legible writing on its lower right-hand corner states very clearly that this machine was built to entertain.
Entertainment, it says.
Now, in Casa Alotofwind entertainment regularly comes in the form of the romcom. K and I agree on very little, in general, and our taste in movies is a case in point. The romcom is neutral ground. I don’t like them but I do like a snuggle, and K seems to like it when I am quiet.
Besides, I’m not supposed to like them, am I? As with bathrooms and shoeshops, romcoms aren’t really intended for men. We are permitted to enter, but we will never truly belong. Our job is to sit there trying to convince ourselves we haven’t effectively been dumped for the next eighty minutes in favour of Hugh Grant or Matthew McConaughey. Or worse; Justin fucking Timberlake.
So the viewing of romcoms is what passes for entertainment in our house much of the time, and according to the just visible hieroglyphs on the 260w it was volunteering itself for the purpose. Considered itself tailor made, no less.
Entertainment, is it? This would probably be the time to mention the other affliction that plagued the machine. By the time we’d run out of patience with it the left click had become the least of my concerns. In addition to its tubercular innards and leprous shell the bloody thing had an epileptic screen. It couldn’t get through two minutes of streaming video without having a seizure.
I don’t suppose we are alone in imagining that curling up on a sofa in front of a humorous love story is something that a couple will do when they have relaxation on their mind. Or, dare I say it, entertainment. It hasn’t exactly been conducive then to have to leap up every ninety seconds in a fit of apoplepsy, lunge across the coffee table and punch the Hurling-Plank 260w repeatedly in the face, I mean screen.
I wouldn’t know to describe the scene, but certainly not as romantic. It probably is comedic – for the neutral observer – but not for the participants I can assure you. Is it entertaining, then? Is it entertainment?
No, Mr Plank. It is not.
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