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Why Are Computers So Important?

About two months ago, my beloved Alienware laptop power plug was bumped by my ex-boyfriend. Somehow he bumped into it in just the right manner to screw up the inside connection to the motherboard. I could bend the power cord tip and put weight on it and it would work. Unfortunately, one day that stopped working as well. I sent an e-mail to customer support, asking for an estimate of how much it would cost to repair. I was only willing to pay $500 because if it would cost more, I could just buy a new computer, which would be better anyway since mine was three years old. Apparently it would have cost $300 just to send it in and have it diagnosed. So I started saving for a new one. I have that one now and it’s doing fine. But the time when I was without a computer really made me realize how pathetic it is that I rely so heavily on it for my day-to-day activities.

I am on summer break from college now, but when my computer failed I had five research papers and a PowerPoint presentation due all around the same time. We have computer labs on campus of course, but I don’t like having to drive over there and be around so many people and loud, old computers with who-knows-how-many-germs of strangers all over the keyboards. I dealt with this inconvenience though, and it made me very happy when a few professors put off the papers for a week because that was just enough time for me to get my new computer in and install Word.

The time when I was completely without a computer (namely the weekends), I felt on edge—like I was missing out on life somehow. I mostly use three websites—MySpace, Facebook, and Yahoo Mail. I communicate with my friends through these sites and even though I don’t receive new messages/e-mails every day, I worried that I would miss something important. I felt like an addict, and that is pretty much what I am. I feel more sane just having a computer that works in my home and that is really sad. Maybe I should worry more because it gives a thief something of value to steal. But no ... I worry when there is nothing to steal, haha.

Honestly though, people just rely on these machines entirely too much. Personally, I use my computer for work (I work for the school newspaper), writing academically or for fun, communication with friends and family, entertainment (watching episodes of my show online since I don’t want to spend money on cable for ONE show), listening to music, watching movies (my new computer has a Blu-ray player so I bought surround sound speakers too), and pretty much anything I feel like when I’m bored. At the moment I am so bored because here I am ... finally out for the summer, and it is the weekend. I work Monday through Friday at an insurance company and that keeps me occupied. But I have NOTHING to do on the weekends. I keep wondering what on earth I was doing when school was still in session because I distinctly remember not working on papers or school projects and kicking myself for it. ‘Tis a mystery that baffles me.

I read several classic American novels/authors this semester and two of those were Emerson and Thoreau. Not pleasant to read really, but Thoreau at least had something interesting to say that I disagree with. He said that we have trapped ourselves in this cycle of needing money and modern conveniences. Maybe that was true when he was alive, but right now if I were to go out into the woods to live.... No, there is NO way that could work. First of all, I have never known life without an air conditioner. If you know Louisiana, I really hope you would agree that it is a necessary part of life here. The humidity is so horrid that I often take two or three showers a day to not feel so grimy. I walk outside and my hair gets poofy and I feel covered in muck. It is AMAZING to be able to walk into my home or office and feel that wonderful cold air beaming down at me. I really do not believe that my body would just get used to it, and I certainly would be unhappy because I wouldn’t have running water to wash the crap off of me.

Next—just think about computers and cell phones. How many people are you close to that just so happen to live nearby? I don’t use my communication devices to communicate with people I see on a daily basis. I would still have to work if I lived in the woods because I would have to buy groceries somehow. Never mind the lack of electricity, period ... that would be a killer. Anyway, while working, I would certainly be using a computer. Most jobs require the knowledge of computers. What I’m saying is that you can’t just escape technology and modern “conveniences.” I don’t think they are just conveniences anymore. I know several people that have given up landlines and just use cell phones now. It is cheaper than having both, and long distance doesn’t make any difference in the price.

So maybe it is crazy how much we all rely on technology ... to the point of addiction, or at least having withdrawal when that technology becomes unavailable, but I don’t think we can avoid it and just forge our own path in the world. That option has disappeared, unless you grow up in a family that is already practicing that lifestyle and you never know anything different. But I highly doubt anybody like that will be reading this article!