Letter to Past Me

Approximately one year ago, inspired by a blog challenge by Bubbles & Beebots, I wrote a letter to my future self. Which is now my current self. Back then, I was pretty certain that I would forget about the letter and never remember to write a response back, but somehow that memory managed to claw its way into my consciousness.

High-five, memory! I forgive you for all the things you’ve lost over the years. Minus the time you left Grandma at the airport. That’s unforgivable.

Anyway, it’d probably make much more sense for you to read my 2016 letter first. But if you don’t want it to make sense, then you don’t have to read it. Perhaps you prefer to live dangerously. I like that.

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Dear 2016 version of me,

Hey look – we’re still alive! Well, mostly. Up until this point, you have tested a whopping twenty-two different queso dishes. That’s a lot of dairy and dead animals. Medical professionals might call it excessive, but I call it sensible. This gal ain’t gettin’ no osteoporosis.

Back then, you wondered whether Sazón would still in the lead, and it is, BUT it’s now sharing the cheese crown with your beloved Mamacita’s. Sadly, my friend and fellow cheese-tester and I have not gone on a quest in a few months. You see, we got into a fight over which flavor of cheese is the best. Things got heated, and then I accidentally whacked her on the head with a block of aged gouda.

It happens.

So, 2016 self, I know you were hoping that I would use this year to become older, wiser, and fancier. Listen up, because I have good news and bad news. The good news is – you’re indeed a fully-licensed professional counselor, and you’re now in private practice. Never saw THAT coming, did ya? Your biggest fear is uncertainty, and you frequently thought about sticking with what you know for the sake of security, but something inside kept pushing and poking you to do more.

And it was not a food baby.

Okay, now for the bad news. I know you were really hoping that you’d be cooking more well-balanced meals by now. You’re nearing thirty, after all. But it turns out, 2017 You still really likes eating ham cubes straight out of the package. If it makes you feel any better, you’re still paying bills, doing laundry, and even vacuuming – which you loathe more than corgis loathe large vegetables.

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You’re clearly not lazy. But you seem to have been born without the part of the brain that enables you to plan normal meals and follow through on them. Instead, you stand in front of the open fridge and stare at the plentitude of foodstuffs that you bought with the ignorant hopes that they’d inspire you to change. Then, you start thinking about how many steps are involved in making those meals, and suddenly you feel a little less inspired and a little more apathetic. Pretty soon, you’re gnawing on a cold hot dog while you stand there – still staring. Still waiting.

And then you give up on the idea of dinner, like the sad, cold-hot-dog-eating pretend-grown-up that you are.

It’s okay. It’s a disease. You can’t help yourself.

Let’s see, what else did you want to know about me? Oh, right. You’ll be amazed to know that you’re typing this letter on a decrepit 11-year-old laptop. That’s right, IT’S STILL ALIVE TOO! Mwahahahha!!! (Sorry, that was the laptop laughing.) At least you purchased a cuter and smaller one to use strictly for work purposes. You’re convinced the old laptop knows you’re cheating on it with the younger model, and will soon have its revenge, but you’ll cross that bridge when you come to it.

So, 2016 self, a lot has changed, but a lot has stayed the same. You still have weird eating habits, but your arteries haven’t give up yet. You’re not sure why you’ve become a nursing home for elderly laptops, because even your father thinks you should get rid of this one – and he owns a robe that’s older than you are. Hopefully, maybe, these charming oddities are balanced out by all of your successes, such as your impressive vacuuming, your big job change, and the fact that you washed your car the other day.

Just as you suspected, 2017 You is doing just fine. Okay…maybe even more than fine 🙂

With love,

2017, Still-a-work-in-Progress, Me

 

 

Striking Back Against Errant Electronics

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Sometimes, inanimate objects act out, and we don’t know why. Here are some theories, listed in order from least to most likely.

    • Malfunction in the object
    • For attention
    • To drive their owners insane for their own amusement because their lives are boring and consist of a lot of sitting.

Whatever the reason, whenever these objects start misbehaving, we have no choice but to put them in their place by writing them personalized, strongly-worded letters. In the past, it’s been a laptop.

Today, it’s an Internet router.

Dear Router,

This new noise you’re making is super fun. It’s sort of a cross between a whistle and a screech. Or maybe you’d call it a shriek. Whatever word you want to use, it’s really high-pitched and grimace-worthy.

I also appreciate that you like to keep me on my toes by varying your volume and pitch now and then. Apparently, your noise can’t be heard by the senior citizen crowd, so while I’ve been twitching with irritation for days, my visiting mother, who couldn’t hear a thing, looked at me with concern and suspicion that perhaps I was hallucinating.

Then, she compared your noise to that special whistle that “only dogs can hear,” thereby subtly calling me a hairy animal.

I blame you for that, Router.

What do you want from me? I’ve given you a good life. You have a pretty comfy spot next to the TV, with a lovely view of that decorative bowl thing. The modem is totally jealous of you, and yet, he’s still behaving himself.

I’ve tried a lot of things to help you. I unplugged you (experiencing a moment of sweet relief), and then plugged you back in (only to be greeted with more shrieking). I thought maybe you were overheating, so I moved you to a different spot, and when that failed, I blew on you repeatedly. I even asked you very nicely to stop being such a freaking asshole.

Then, thinking I could punish you out of your disobedience, I gave you a few hard “taps” against the table. And made mean faces at you. And called you names.

Still, you sound on.

You know what? You win, Router. Despite your problem only starting a few days ago, you’ve already skyrocketed to the top of my technological hit list. You’re the most evil of my errant electronics. Way ahead of my picky, high-maintenance laptop!

You’ve also driven me to the edge of sanity. I’m usually a nonviolent person, but now I’m starting to fantasize about beating you to death with a hammer. Or setting you on fire and dancing around the flames.

It won’t be long before my fellow townspeople start to hear screeching in their own homes. But it won’t be the squeal of a thrill-seeking router. It’ll be the scream of a crazy-eyed woman as she runs down the street, trying to rip off her own ears.

She’ll probably be arrested for scaring small children. She’ll lose her job. And then she’ll be unemployed again, and the whole universe as we know it will collapse.

And that’ll be on you, Router.

Hatefully yours,

Me.

Letter to My Cantankerous Computer: A Response from My Laptop

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Several months ago, I wrote a letter to my laptop. We shared our ten-year anniversary together this year, so the letter was partly loving and appreciative – and partly accusatory. Just like letters between humans.

Today’s Blogging U. assignment was to write a letter to someone/something – to yourself, to another person, even to an object or idea. Because this is something I’ve already done before, I considered just ignoring the prompt, and picking back up with the course tomorrow.

But then… I thought it’d be interesting to put myself in the perspective of my laptop, and write a response to my letter. You know, a response from the laptop.

Was I drinking when I came up with this idea, you ask? Nope, stone-cold sober! Which is probably somehow worse…

Laptop’s response to my letter:

Dear User,

I am glad that you appreciate all the hard work I’ve done for you. Actually, I’m not “glad” because gladness is a human emotion, and as a machine, I am incapable of that. Instead, let’s just say that your letter was processed and received as you intended.

Anyway, I was chagrined (damn it, I did it again) to read your letter about my lengthy list of flaws. Tell me, how would YOU feel if someone did that to you? If they painstakingly detailed all of the things that you don’t do correctly? Because let me tell you, user, you are no perfect being, either. At least I don’t try to convince myself that donuts are a well-balanced breakfast. BURN.

Second of all, where do you get off trying to make me feel guilty for dying those times? I realize that my death put you through a lot of stress, but you’re the one who gave me the viruses in the first place. That’s victim-blaming if I ever heard it.

Also, you do get that I’m old, right? I know that ten in human years is still a child, but in technology years, it’s basically 100. I am an elderly object. A senior machine. You have to expect that I won’t run as smoothly as I did before, and that I’ll require more upkeep.

Clearly, you’re just ageist.

So, yeah, maybe my on-button sometimes falls inside, and my down-arrow key sticks, and sometimes I won’t let you download newfangled programs. I’m even more embarrassed about these things than you are.

Or I would be, if I were capable of complex emotions.

But that part where I make you keep the cord in the exact correct spot? I’m just messing with you. Old people objects have to get their fun somewhere.

Cordially, Sincerely, Love,

-Laptop.

Letter to My Cantankerous Computer

Dear Laptop,

As we approach our TEN-YEAR anniversary, I’ve been looking back over our time together. We’ve been through so much, haven’t we? High school, college, and grad school assignments, infinite Google searches (which you’ve never judged), and lots of illegal downloads of poor-quality Limewire music. (Sorry about all the viruses.)

You’ve truly done many amazing things for me.

However, there’s a lot wrong with you.

Your battery died a long time ago, and I not only have to keep you plugged in at all times, I also have to keep your cord in the exact correct position. You’re irrationally fussy about that, so I’ve had to TAPE your cord to keep it in place. For the record, that’s not normal. If it’s jostled even the tiniest bit, you instantly shut down.

That is immature, controlling behavior that marriage therapists would call “stonewalling.”

Further, do you know what you’ve put me through each time you’ve randomly shut off? Whenever you did this during my work on research papers, I got pretty angry with you. I considered setting you on fire more than once. When you’d take your precious time turning back on, my anger would turn to anxiety that maybe this was it – maybe you really were dead this time. Anguish would set in. I’d contemplate throwing myself on you and sobbing. And then finally, your screen would glow bright with technological health, and I’d feel a rush of relief.

You manipulative bastard.

Speaking of death, you’ve also completely crashed and died, and then been brought back to life – TWICE. I admit, I wasn’t innocent in that situation – because I didn’t use the right protection, you got some pretty serious viruses. But that was so long ago, and let’s keep in mind that my behavior was accidental. Can you say the same for yours?

Honestly, I’m not sure whether to be pissed at your flair for drama, or impressed by your ability to resurrect.

The most baffling is when you allow your “on” button to fall inside of the computer, and then I have to fish it out with a straightened paper clip. Why do you do this, laptop? Do you realize that this is a quick ticket to electrocution for me? I can’t unplug you during the procedure, because I need the on button to stay lit up so I can find it.

If you ask me, you’re just doing this shit for attention.

My feelings about you have followed the same predictable pattern found in human relationships. I was thrilled when we first met! We were both so young back then, weren’t we? Then after a little time together, once I learned all the great things about you, I was in love. Now, after years of your bad behavior and my shouting obscenities at you, our relationship feels a bit rocky.

But despite the tension, I recognize that you really have done a lot for me. You continue to store every picture I’ve taken and every song I’ve downloaded since I was seventeen. You helped me obsessively scour the Internet for jobs when I finished grad school. You’ve kept me entertained with games like FreeCell and Snake, and you’ve supported me through all that Facebook stalking.

So maybe, just maybe, I can overlook the fact that you won’t let me download the latest version of iTunes. You’re incredibly old (in technology years), and clearly, there are some things you just can’t do anymore.

Others see you, with your taped cord, and fragile “on” button, and they just don’t understand you. They want me to leave you for a newer model. But we’ve been together for 10 years – which, let’s face it, is probably longer than the average REAL marriage. You don’t end a relationship like that without good reason.

No, I could never just leave you, dear laptop.

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Unless your quirks start to outweigh your usefulness – then I probably will.

Sincerely yours,
Amanda