Machine Love

My first car looked just like this

Today, I’m up in Seattle.  I’ll be taking notes at a Microsoft Partners Advisory Council for the next 2 days.  More than enough time to type 80+ pages and get swamped in new acronyms and foreign accents.

But just now, I remember back to my first PAC, way back in September 2011.  It feels like forever. We went to a local computer store owned by a friend of ours and I picked out a laptop.  You must know that I don’t care if my computer is pink or black.  It’s black, by the way.  And it has a couple of scratches.  Don’t matter to me.  That conference is where me and Lucky (okay, making up a name for my laptop on the fly) really got acquainted.  Typing for 6 hours a day, trying to keep up as my boss calls it “thought-batim” with the conversation on topics I’d never heard of, took all my concentration and not a little bit of frustration and inward cursing.  I’d never used a laptop for that extended amount of time and I kept hitting the pad with my hand and erasing entire passages…Gah!  Double gah!  Wait!  What’s the guy from Australia saying now?!

Anyway, I broke Lucky in during that conference.  I got comfortable with her lithe keyboard and no-nonsense styling.  She’s a PC and she’s proud.  No MACs at the Microsoft conference, anyway.  Sorry!

So when I started blogging, I used Lucky.  I have her set up on the dining room table, where I can look at the window and dream.  I can watch the fake fire, er, gas fireplace or see Rex dozing in his blue easy chair.  Lucky is a good tool and I’m becoming attached to her silver-and-black face with 10-key built in. 

But I felt that way with all my cars.  My very first car was a pumpkin-orange 1974 Volkswagen bug.  I got it just before my sophomore year in college and I was only the 2nd owner.  It had a lovely black rubber interior and a tape deck.  The headlights were a pull/push button system, enhancing the toy-like appeal.  The heater, true to VW form, burned so hot your ankles felt like they were on fire.  Your face, however, would be frozen, your nose a fleshcicle.  In fact, if you were driving through the Siskiyous, you might discover ice on the inside of the windows.  But I digress.

Though VW bugs stick shifts are a bit tricky to learn, my dad and my good friend Deb taught me how to get around.  I also got a job delivering flowers, so that forced me to get good really fast, and learn the Santa Cruz mountains quickly, too.  I did a lot of praying and praising up Zayante Way. 

I named the car Sonkist, because he was a gift and he reminded me of a ripe, juicy orange.  My grandmother paid for him and he was an answer to prayer.  We drove him until we’d been married 7 years or so, Jonathon and I, until we sold him to another kid going off to college.  I was glad he was going to a new home, but I would miss him.  He drove us back and forth from Santa Cruz to Portland.  I drove him solo from Santa Cruz to Las Vegas (9 hours!) and he was a good bug. He was our getaway car – that wouldn’t start – after our wedding. In fact, in part, because of that car, Jonathon and I started dating.  But that’s another story.

Machines don’t  have souls or voices or spirits.  But they serve us and we can start to love them as we interact in our daily lives. They’re almost like a silent partner or member of the family.  They stand at the ready, waiting to be pressed into service. They become part of the turning points and new starts, good memories and inspiration all rolled into one humming, buzzing battery-operated hunk of metal or plastic.  Where would we be without them?

I probably won’t be blogging the next 2 days because of doing an actual job.  Please tune in on Friday for my next installment.