Every Friday night, my boys head out to Kids Club at church and my husband and I get two blissful hours. Alone. In our apartment. It’s like a small gift we unwrap at the end of every week. We’ve developed a habit of spending the time camped out in front of the TV with takeout Indian food and re-runs of How I Met Your Mother. There’s comfort in the consistency of a routine that could best be described as mundane, in the middle of a city known for being anything but mundane.
And did I mention we are completely alone? There’s no, “I’m thirsty, Mom,” or “He hit me, Mom,” or “I can’t find (insert something lying in plain sight), Mom.” We drink in the quiet like it’s water bubbling up from a spring in the middle of the desert. We fall to our knees and bathe our hands in the cool trickle of the purest life-sustaining liquid. We revive and replenish so we can carry on. We fortify for battle.
So I was surprised this past Friday afternoon when my husband sent me a text saying, “I would like to go buy you a new computer tonight. What do you think?”
“I think it sounds expensive and unnecessary,” was my response. I really couldn’t believe he actually wanted to spend our Friday night that way. It was frigid outside. Instead of recharging with warm Indian food and quiet time, we were going to willingly throw ourselves into the snake pit?
But he persisted. “I think it’s necessary. Your computer is garbage.”
In my mind garbage was a bit of an overstatement. I mean, it still turned on. But maybe he had a point. It hadn’t quite been the same for the past couple of years. You see, my youngest son, in what can only be described as the ultimate act of defiance, stood directly over that computer, looked me square in the eye, and pee’d on it. He thought it was hysterical. I was hysterical. Almost instantaneously, I heard a pop and the screen went dark. Thousands of photos, hundreds of pages of writing, resumes and cover letters, and folders full of files and documents for consulting clients were all trapped in that darkness. None of it was backed up. None of it was in the cloud. Did anyone even know what the cloud was back then?
Miraculously, after I soaked up the liquid and gave it a good disinfecting scrub, the computer came back to life. But I could tell it was pissed at me. (No pun intended. Ok, maybe a little pun intended.) It was finicky. It had a mind of its own and operated at a snail’s pace. The keys were constantly jamming up, or falling off, and I was constantly hurling not so flattering insults at it. Despite all the nonsense it threw at me, I was loyal to that device, because one day a few years ago, it rose like a phoenix from the ashes and carried on for me.
“Be nice,” I responded. “It’s sitting right here and you’re hurting its feelings.”
Later that evening as we stood on the steps of church after dropping the boys off, I had a decision to make. We could go right, and head home for comfort and routine and Indian food, or we could go left, into the crowds and the energy and the unknown. My husband put his hand on my shoulder and looked in my eyes. “I believe in your blogging and your writing and what you are doing. I want you to know you have my support along this path you are on, and one of the ways I can do that is by getting you a computer that doesn’t make you want to beat your head against the wall every time you use it. Let me give you this one thing.” How could I argue with that?
So I spent most of the weekend playing with my brand new thing, a Lenovo Yoga laptop. And it got me thinking. Some things are just things. They are objects that we use throughout the course of our day to do a job or make life easier, or more comfortable, or more aesthetically pleasing. Other things are more than just things, because they stand for something. Like a husband’s love, and the journey that still lies ahead.
In response to The Daily Post: Weekly Writing Challenge for 2/24/14. Better late than never!