I wish I could say I was good with computers. My boyfriend is a computer genius, most of my friends are pretty savvy, and one of my best friends fixes famous people’s computers here in Paris (!!) and occasionally gets tipped in awesome products. I am literally surrounded by computer competence and general capability. I should, if by nothing but pure osmosis, have learned a thing or two about how my machines work. But I really haven’t, and though I have the basics bestowed on me by CS101 and can still whip up a thing or two in HTML if the need be (as any blogger should), I’m pretty clueless beyond that. My computers, from my IBM Aptiva to the 2010 HP laptop I replaced this Christmas, have all served me pretty well and, if they have fallen, it’s been for nothing other than my own incompetence. I’m pretty sure at least one or two went out during my Limewire-heavy days. I know, I know, I’m horrible.
And I always hated Apple. I had an iPod, though, so technically I should have had nothing but respect for the company that allowed me to have access to several thousand of my favorite songs on the metro. But I wasn’t about to buy a Zune (what am I, a hobo?), and I figured that one could still have the ubiquitous iPod and hate all things Apple. But why? If I’m being honest with myself, my reasons were three-fold.
- They were way too expensive for me. When I bought my HP two years ago, I bought one of the most expensive, and though it weighed about ~1200 pounds, it was awesome for watching movies, playing video games, and storing limitless amounts of whatever I wanted. In short, so much room for activities!! But “one of the most expensive” with HP was still significantly less than the entry-level Macbook. This was distressing.
- All the people I knew who had one were douches. I really feel like the 2007-2010 period was the heyday of flaunting all the sexy features on Macbooks that the rest of us weren’t privy to. These cool-ass chats, those endless Photobooth shoots, even just screencapping all the awesome things you were doing on your sleek-ass notebook, everything was fodder for the Apple humblebragger. And I was jealous as hell, because my computer, as good as it was in objectivity, was still wholly unsexy and rather utilitarian. Plus, as I mentioned before, it weighed about the same as a desktop computer. It wasn’t fair.
- I didn’t understand what made them so much better/justified the price. It pretty much just seemed to me like you were buying a sleek design, a general “image,” and entry into this semi-exclusive club that loved to engage in bi-weekly circle jerks if you bought a Mac. This only compounded my feelings of deep injustice about the whole issue.
But the time came this past winter when I was back in the States and desperately in need of a new computer, as the hinge/case on my HP was all kinds of messed up and my computer-repairing friend was circling around it like a vulture, looking to take it off my hands. Not to mention, given that I take my computer around with me everywhere I go, its weight was beginning to over-develop my right shoulder muscles and make me look like Quasimodo. It was time to pick the right one for me. And through much research and discernment, I settled on two or three PCs that seemed to fit what I was looking for. I had figured what I needed, I had set out a budget, and I was ready to make a smart choice.
And then I went to an electronics store and cuddled with the Macbook Air in the computer section, and all my reason went up in a small puff of apple-scented smoke.
It was just so pretty! And it had all these features that I didn’t really need, but that seemed awesome. It was all skinny and weighed only slightly more than a folder that I carry around with me that has about 10 papers in it. I felt that stomach-turning rush of infatuation, I couldn’t put it down, and sure enough, I went back home with a shiny new Macbook Air in my hands. And as I anticipated, it feels just so awesome. I can feel myself becoming a snob over absolutely nothing, and looking down on PC users in the coffee shop around me like plebeians rubbing some rocks together to send spark signals to each other. Is my actual computing experience better? Not really. I mean, I use some programs now (like Photoshop, for example) that I didn’t before, so I have nothing to compare it to, but I could only imagine it would be similar. The ins and outs of actual use are pretty similar, and though this computer is quite impressive for its size, I don’t know that the price was entirely justified. In fact, it most certainly isn’t. But I don’t care. I can’t stop myself from being everything I hate and loving how I feel with this sleek-ass square of silver tucked neatly in my purse. It’s just so beautiful and awesome, and I feel more awesome because of it.
And to add insult to injury, I still think Steve Jobs was an enormous tool and the people who worship him, even worse. I wouldn’t have touched his stupid biography with a 10-foot pole, and think the hype surrounding him is far more inspired by his impetuousness and lifestyle choices than his work as a businessman. Also, he disowned his daughter, but what rich guy doesn’t do that at least a couple times?! The whole “culture” of Apple is something I greatly dislike, and think it’s founded on all the wrong ideas and pillars, and yet I find myself just as bowled over and taken in by aesthetics as the people I would seek to disparage. I am, for lack of a better word, one of them now. On the flip side, I respect Bill Gates enormously, and feel constantly guilty over having forsaken Microsoft (no matter how clunky it was becoming) for something I believe in so much less. But PCs just aren’t sexy the way Apples are sexy, and I can’t explain it.
I feel like an enormous ass hat, having given in to something so utterly constructed. People will try to justify Apples to you until they’re blue in the face, but we all know that for a majority of users, it’s far more about image, aesthetics, and design than it is about the actual function of the computer. People pay more for a name, a feel, a product that says something about who they are. And even though I love my Air, I certainly don’t like what it says about me. Ugh, I need to take a shower.