There it is. My laptop.
HP, Windows 7, intel Pentium blah blah blah (the specifics don’t interest me, sorry).
It sits on my desk, its black screen flipped open, and I see my conflicted expression reflected back at me. Should I turn it on? Or go read a book?
10 seconds later, that flat piece of machinery is humming to life.
Instances like this happen every day; I can’t remember the last day I went without turning on my laptop. It’s never been off for more than 24 hours, unless I’m out of town (in which case, I use a computer in the nearest library). There are e-mails to check, Facebook updates to catch up on, Tweets to retweet, and things I need to Google. I need Microsoft Word for my essay, Powerpoint 2007 for my next class presentation. I need to play some music while I take a break on iTunes, and pause that song while I browse through some Youtube videos.
Seriously, how did people survive without these things 10 years ago?
I barely remember a time (long, long ago) when it was standard for every family household to have 1 computer. A desktop computer. Now, you’re waaaaay behind the times if you’re over the age of 7 and you don’t have your own Apple Mac. I mean, come on. We can’t seem to get anything done without these things to help us out.
Yet, way back when, people got along just fine without them. The difference between the 90’s and now is simply how pervasive laptops have become. When nobody had them, nobody needed them. Yeah, sure, the rich kid down the block might have a hi-tech portable computer (that, in hindsight, is the size of 2 chemistry textbooks stacked together), but since he was the only one, he’d be the odd one out. Every other guy just played baseball outdoors. But now that most of the 1st-world country’s citizens own one, it’s hard to get by without joining the crowd. It’s become a bandwagon trend, and you’ll get left behind pretty quickly if you don’t set up a Facebook account to keep up with what’s happening on the status page. Professors and employers expect you to own one, and they expect you to carry it around and get work done with it.
So yes, laptops have invaded every level of our society, simply by becoming a necessity to almost every single person out there. This device makes it impossible to function normally without it, and shapes me into a human being that is constantly dependent on it. I need it for information, for work, for school, for socializing . . . heck, even this blog post is being done on my laptop.
But laptops are also undeniably our helpers, our assistants, our convenient tools . . . and they definitely make life a lot easier. The world is smaller with Internet Explorer (or Google Chrome), and jobs are easier with a Microsoft package.
Yet I sometimes wonder, if one day I decided to throw my laptop out the window, as I am often tempted to do, what would happen? If every single laptop shut down and never came back alive, would we survive?
Yes, we would. Humans are creatures that can adapt marvelously. We’d get along just fine without a bright digital screen blaring at us from its altar on the desk. We’d probably revert back to good old notebooks and pencils.
But of course, it’s all speculation. Laptops are here to stay. Do we really have a choice in whether or not these things will become essential in our lives? Especially because they already have.