There are only two of us, well three, if you count the cat, but only my wife counts the cat, and the cat doesn’t use the computer (despite my urging to “write or get out” as a prerequisite of being part of a writing family) but we have five computers in the house if you count our iPhones. And they do count, as they are mini-computers, technically speaking.
When I was a kid, the measure of success and prosperity was two cars, at least on TV and the rest of the world, my world in the housing projects the measure was more than one TV, which we achieved when my dad bought his own personal COLOR TV that was kept in HIS bedroom in front of HIS bed. More on that some other time. But after he bought his personal color TV I took it upon myself to sneak in and watch it at every opportunity when he was at work, since it was more dazzling than the big black and white Philco that was in the living room. Sometimes I would forget to put it back on channel 47, the only Spanish channel back then, and I would get yelled at for touching HIS TV.
I got my first computer in 2000, when I was recently divorced from my first wife. The one we had when we were married was really hers, I didn’t know how to use it properly and really had no reason to.
My then 12-year-old son had to set it up for me and show me how to get on line.
“See dad, it’s pretty easy, huh?”
Easy for him to say and do. That computer was a Dell desktop, and it took up most of my kitchen table, which at the time was really a card table my brother had found in the street somewhere in Hell’s Kitchen. I signed up for AOL and actually met a woman on the AOL dating thing, a woman named Yvonne from somewhere upstate who came to New York to visit me. My first and only experience with on line dating. I wrote emails to my new friends and learned how to surf the web.
When I moved in with Danusia, my new wife, we were not married yet; but she had a 12-inch MacBook and suggested I get rid of the Dell. She said I could use her computer if I needed to, but I didn’t really feel comfortable with that, and that Christmas I bought myself a 15-inch MacBook Pro. Danusia fell in love with my new computer, and was on it all the time, as it was a lot faster and prettier than her old 12-inch MacBook. I urged her to get her own, and the following Christmas she got a SEVENTEEN-inch MacBook Pro, which now was much faster and prettier than my 15-incher. Grrr.
By now I had advanced from using my computer to store pictures on and surf the web to writing on it. When I met Danusia, and she’d told me she was an actress and a writer, I had shown her a little hand-written piece I’d done about the birth of my son, and she said that’s one of the reasons she’d fallen in love with me. But now she started urging me to write, and that’s how we became a writing family. So you can blame Danusia for making me think that anyone would be interested in reading what I write, and for wanting to make it public.
Somewhere along the line I got us iPhones, I had gotten a big check at work when I filled in for the then handyman and splurged on his and hers iPhones. That makes 4 computers, or “devices” if you want to get technical about it.
Danusia travels a lot for work, and she always took her 17-inch 3-pound laptop with her.
“I wish I had an iPad” (which she pronounces as “iPod”), it would be so much easier to carry when I travel and we would still be able to Skype!”
So last Christmas I bough her an iPad, and that makes five computers. The iPad is really convenient when we are watching a movie together and HAVE to know the name of this or that actor/actress we just can’t place. Or settle a bet on whether someone won an Oscar or not. “You give Oscars to everybody” Danusia is fond of telling me.
But the primary purpose of all of our “Devices” (Steve Martin/Dan Aykroyd, anyone?) is writing.
A typical evening (or morning) in our apartment will find us at our respective computers, quietly writing away, each in our own little world. She is working on a new play and I write blog posts and stories, and now I have something new to write for, my next Moth story. Our worlds collide when we either read what we’ve written aloud to each other, or if it’s long, we print it out, or sometime email it to each other. The other day she emailed me some pictures from the bedroom (I was writing in the living room) that made me shut down my computer and think of something else.