Nov 29, 2010

the day the backlight died

Friday evening, November 26th. Comatose from turkey, football, and jigsaw puzzles, the family decides to watch How to Train Your Dragon for our annual Family Movie. (Review: surprisingly decent, if you like Scottish Vikings.)

Five minutes before the film starts, I'm sitting in the living room, watching the end of a meaningless game while updating my Netflix queue. Suddenly, my school-provided laptop goes dark. It's been doing this for a few months, at random, usually when the power cord is removed, and the short-term solution is to hit the brightness button until sanity is restored.

Only this time, it doesn't work.

I start to panic, thinking that the hard drive has crashed (Again? That's unpossible!), until I notice that I can barely see the faintest image of the desktop. Whew. It's just the monitor. Or, more precisely, the backlight.

Over the course of the weekend, I learn several things.

1. If you shine a flashlight on the screen, you can see everything, albeit a little awkwardly.
2. If I had tried this same technique with a torch, essentially, I would have been behaving as a 21st-century caveman.
3. I can live without the internet, for a few hours at least, until overcome by the urge to check email and update comments on a Google Doc or tweet on Twitter or post cryptically on Facebook or check college football scores on ESPN or... blog. (If I was a little slow answering your question about LD this past weekend, that's part of the reason.)
4. Mooching is one of the top five life skills. Maybe number one.
5. If you are an introvert or a germ-phobe, do not shop at Best Buy on Black Friday.
6. Life without a laptop is a life free of nagging responsibility.
7. I am not sure that I want a life free of nagging responsibility.

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