A year or so ago, with the chaos of summer break, summer school, and freelancing looming, my husband the Almighty Father/Professional suggested that it might be time to bring a laptop into our family to ease some of the chaos.
Coincidentally, I had always wanted a laptop. Even before laptops existed, when I was thirteen years old and plugging away at chapters of whatever novel I was writing at the time.
1988 A.D.: As I scrolled through the 3x5-inch screen of my Brother word processor – and believe me, that was plenty cool after spending several summers on my grandma's old typewriter – I dreamed of a sleek, futuristic, notebook-like device that I could take anywhere and write on whenever I felt like it.
I pictured myself typing contentedly in a field of daisies, as words poured onto electronic pages, and futuristic, rocket-propelled cows munched genetically engineered cud overhead.
Just as I felt that email was the universe's answer to my personal desire to never have to talk on the phone again, the advent of the laptop spoke to me as my own dream come true.
Of course we were going to get a laptop. Call it whatever timesaving, chaos-dispelling thing you want. Give me my laptop.
Then the magical laptop of my dreams became just another piece of computer equipment, a tool to get a job done.
For some reason, it all came back to me the other day. Gary was giving Gert a bath and he called, "Hey, can you bring me the laptop?"
The laptop. Cool, sliver, smooth, thin, and light as an undergrad textbook. I pulled it out of its padded case and suddenly it was like seeing it for the first time. Like a clean, white piece of paper, it gazed up at me begging to be written on.
I hugged it. (No, I'm not making this up.) And then I carried the laptop to the bathroom and announced that I needed to write a book.
"Okay," said Gary. "Um. Can I use it first?"