I walked into Robertson’s Business

I walked into Robertson’s Business Supplies, all excited because I was on the way to buy my laptop computer. I was all ready to spend the two hundred bucks in return for portable word processing power. Time for me to become a roving laptop rock’n’roll machine.

And then I spoke to the salesman and he crushed all my illusions. An extra fifty bucks to install MS-DOS and Windows 3.1. Oh, and if I wanted WordPerfect 5.1 that would be another fifty bucks.

I told him I had an Epson inkjet printer that I’d found at a yard sale and asked if there was any way that the driver for it could be put on the laptop. Oh sure, they could download the driver… That would be ten bucks for the download, plus half-an-hour’s labour charge to install it… probably another thirty or forty bucks.

The dream was crumbling. I started to get the impression that the salesman didn’t really want me to own this machine. His indifference was contagious. Finally I said, “Thanks for your time,” and wandered out into Cunard Street in the rain.

So much for sitting in the park and writing about the mating habits of ducks. Summer’s almost over anyway… I guess I’ll just stay home. I’ve still got a ten-dollar Mac Classic in my bedroom that I can use to write the Great Canadian Novel, or at least the Great Canadian Sloppy Jumble Of Words That Don’t Go Anywhere.

I’ve also got my notebook and gel pen that I carry with me everywhere. Too bad writing with pen and paper sucks. It’s slow and linear and not at all analogous to how my brain works.

If I didn’t live in the computer age I’d probably never write at all. Much of the time I spend “writing” is actually spent editing and fine-tuning, fiddling with the placement of commas and so on. Hard to do that with pen and paper.