Friday, June 5, 2015


My old laptop computer, which I bought years ago, has been causing me so much stress lately, I’m glad my neighbors aren’t within hearing distance because their poor ears would be subjected to an ongoing stream of colorful and creative language.

I don’t know why, but when I got up the other morning, grabbed my glass of orange juice and turned on my computer to check my email, which is my regular daily routine, the machine suddenly acted as if it had been possessed by some demonic spirit.

When I tried to get into my AT&T mailbox, I received a message: “At&T is not responding.”

It really didn’t have to tell me that. I mean, the completely blank screen was a pretty good clue.

So I decided to check my auctions on Ebay.

“Ebay is not responding.”

By then, I was becoming just slightly irritated. Determined, I tried yet another website, Facebook.

“Facebook is not responding.”

So basically, if I had gone outside and picked up a big rock and brought it back inside, I would have had the same response from it as from my computer.

An hour later, I finally was able to read my email. By then, I had come very close to turning my laptop into a speed bump in my driveway.

So I decided maybe the time had come to buy another laptop. But I didn’t want a brand new one – I wanted a factory refurbished one. For one thing, after recently spending over $2,000 on veterinary bills, the most I could afford to spend on a computer was about $100. 

When I mentioned it to one of my friends, she said, “For that price, you’ll be lucky if you can get a pocket calculator, a pad of paper and a pencil.”

Undaunted, I began to search Ebay (while my computer still was being gracious enough to allow me to), for a refurbished laptop.

I specifically was looking for a model exactly like my current one. That’s because all of my programs, along with my printer and scanner, are compatible with it. So if I bought a newer model laptop, I’d have to upgrade everything, and I didn’t want or need any extra work…or stress.

I spent over an hour reading endless descriptions of the used laptops listed on Ebay.  One had a hole in the screen. Another was missing the power cord. Another had a battery that no longer could hold a charge. And yet another was protected with a password no one seemed to know.

I continued my search, skipping over the laptops that were being sold for “parts only,” or “as is.”  Past experience had taught me that “as is” meant the laptop probably had been used for third base in a Little League baseball game.

Suddenly a brand new listing popped up and made my eyes widen. It was the exact make and model laptop I was searching for. It was described as completely factory refurbished and in “like new” condition. It came with all of the accessories and a warranty. And best of all, it was only $110, with free shipping.

Fearing that someone else might snap it up, I broke all speed records buying it. Ebay told me it would arrive in three days. I couldn’t believe my good fortune. All of my previous computer-related stress vanished as I breathed a sigh of relief.

About an hour after I purchased the laptop, my phone rang. It was a man who said he was from California and owned a pawn shop there.

“I just sold you a laptop computer on Ebay,” he said.

“Yes,” I said. “And I can’t wait to get it!”

“Well…um…there’s a problem,” he said. “When it was first brought into the shop, I ran the serial number on it and it came up clean. But just now, when I went to package it to ship it to you, I decided to run the number again, just to be safe. This time…um…it came up as stolen.”

For some reason, a vision of myself behind bars, doing time for receiving stolen property, struck me funny. I burst out laughing.

There was complete silence on the other end of the phone as I continued to laugh. I was pretty sure the guy must have been thinking he’d called someone who was in desperate need of a long vacation….in a nice padded cell.

“Are you OK?” he finally asked.

“Yeah…I’m sorry,” I said between chuckles. “It’s just that stuff like this always seems to happen to me. It’s to the point where it just strikes me funny.”

“Well, I’ll issue you a refund right away,” he said. “And I really do apologize for this.”

So I’m still stuck with my old computer.  And as I’m writing this, I’m wondering if when I try to post it, I'll see, " is not responding.”

If that does happen, I swear I really will take my computer out to the driveway and turn it into a speed bump.
On second thought, that's too kind for it.  Make it Route the fast lane.

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