I have finally broken down and ordered a new computer. The Ol’ G4 Powerbook just ain’t what she used to be, and has recently developed multiple layers of malfunction: a track pad that causes the cursor to jump around to random places on the screen, often “clicking” unintentionally on links to the most undesirable advertisements (although accidentally landing on the porn sight was a welcome diversion); a screen that is becoming less and less back-lit every day; and an AC power connection/battery-charger jack that requires my holding it in place while doing a “downward dog” and muttering a solemn prayer to get it to connect.
The online Apple Store had a 12-months-same-as cash-deal if you applied for a new credit card to pay it, and even though I needed a new 20% APR credit card about as much as a swift kick in the balls, the daily challenges of trying to write a thousand word blog with the equivalent of a dull pencil that snapped its lead off spontaneously every other line was enough to make me cry Uncle. And my constant cursing of the offensive writing tool in my lap was making my wife consider her own Internet search for a new husband.
So my bright, shiny, stainless-steel, unibody-constructed Macbook Pro was ordered on January 2nd, with a predicted FedEx delivery date of January 5th. When I awoke on the morning of the 5th, I was like the little kid in “A Christmas Story,” feverishly anticipating Santa’s arrival with the Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-Shot, Range Model Air Rifle, although no one warned me I’d type my eye out with my new machine. Armed with my book, a hot cup of Joe, and a fresh pack of Camels, I took up a surveillance position on the front porch and waited. And waited. And waited. Every time a white vehicle of any kind entered my peripheral vision I looked up in anticipation. Bupkis. Nine, ten, eleven o’clock came and went and, as I had to work that night and was finally crashing from the caffeine buzz, I needed a nap. It seemed risky that I was turning my watch over to the teenager on the couch, with her multiple levels of distraction involving IPod headphones, a Blackberry, her Facebook account, 130 cable TV channels, and a Wii; but I had my ever-diligent watchdog, Maya, who barked feverishly when any vehicle outside of ours entered our driveway. She would even bark at passing pedestrians who were quietly walking their dogs along the side of the house, people and objects I couldn’t even see. She would surely sound the alert when the blessed FedEx diesel roared in.
Well, long-story-not-quite-so-long, I took my nap and the package did not arrive. We received an e-mail notification later that FedEx had experienced a “delivery exception” and listed “customer not available or business closed” as the reason; and an attempted delivery time of 12:04pm! Liars!! My aging, maybe slightly-losing-her-hearing watchdog and electronically-impaired teenage daughter were both on the lookout for your vehicle. There is no way in Hades you could have approached unnoticed. Despite the fact that our doorbell is broken; and the fact that our address in not displayed anywhere on our house except our mailbox, which actually faces a side street, and the location of which is known only to us and the Postal Carrier on this route for 20 years, you could not possibly have passed by without finding us! But, yes, in abject defiance of the failsafe measures I had put in place, the arrival of my Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-Shot, Range Model Air Rifle would be unavoidably delayed for another 24 hours.
Downtrodden and clinging tenuously to a largely unearned feeling of righteous indignation, I teetered on writing a venomous e-mail to FedEx, just to make myself feel better. Penning such an email before the package arrived struck me as slightly conter-productive; so I opted for less aggressive measures. I printed out the “Pre-Sign For This Package” form from their website, placed it in a very prominent position on the front door. I posted a sign, that said, in large block letters ala The Emerald City in The Wizard of Oz, “Doorbell Broken! Please knock!” As a last resort I finally nailed up the 5-inch high, luminescent address numbers that have been sitting in a drawer in our kitchen for three years. Coupled with shipping the daughter out for a sleepover, laying in a stockpile of smokes and coffee so I wouldn’t have to risk a “quick trip” to the store, these measures should prove sufficient to “put us on the map” (plus the added bonus that actually displaying our address on the house should insure no more cold pizza deliveries).
I remain vigilant.