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Saying goodbye to friend past her prime sad, confusing

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My computer screen blacked-out.

So I did what any normal writer would do. I jumped on top of my kitchen table and screamed, “Nooooooooooo!”

I actually knew it was coming. So did ’Band (my new nickname for the husband.)

“Janet,” he would say, “you better back up your computer soon. We need to get you a new one.”

“It’s fine,” I answered defiantly, as I tipped my laptop screen forward at an unnatural 70-degree angle, which is the only angle at which the computer screen backlight could be seen.

My ’Band was wrong. I was right. Tilting the screen forward so I could continue to see my screen worked for nearly eight months, give or take a few tilts. I obviously did not need a new computer.

At least not until last week.

The ’Band accompanied me and Ag (my silver computer) to The MacExperience store at Greenwood Park Mall. The very, very young man who was obviously a repair genius was most helpful. When he referred to my Ag as “vintage,” I thanked him for acknowledging her special qualities.

The very, very young genius also laughed and acknowledged my genius for squeezing the last amount of use out my little Ag by realizing I could see her screen by tilting it forward 70 degrees.

When he told us how much it would be to repair her as opposed to purchasing a new, faster version with mega-more memory — the ’Band planted his hands firmly on my shoulders, looked me straight in the eye and spoke slowly and deliberately: “Janet, it’s time.”

The ’Band then steered — maybe even prodded — me to look at the shiny new displays.

While the very, very young computer genius was answering my ’Band’s questions about megahertz, gigahertz and dual-core Intel, I was going through the inner turmoil of deciding whether I wanted to stay with a 15-inch screen or change to a 13-inch.

The ’Band suggested I stick with the 15-inch since my eyes were nearing vintage age, much like my old laptop. The very, very young genius smiled at my ’Band’s comment, and I suddenly came to the realization that this young man may not actually be a true genius after all.

My eyes started to glaze over when I had to make numerous gut-wrenching decisions: (1) to purchase one with a “retina-display” or not, (2) to purchase one with a 750 GB 5400-rpm hard drive (that would accept the now-vintage technology of CDs) or a 256 GB flash storage.

Any lesser woman would have fallen in anguish to the floor.

I am currently writing this column on my ’Band’s borrowed computer. Ag is sitting next to me near my bay window, keeping me company. I look at her scratched, silver, aged body and remember the good times we shared: finding the seat next to a wall plug to take notes in class while finishing grad school, writing a column while traveling at night on a train in India lying in a four-person sleeping unit, watching movies on our 21-hour drive to Canada.

Ag was a good friend.

Janet Hommel Mangas, the third of seven children, grew up on the east side of Greenwood. The Center Grove area resident and her husband are the parents of three daughters.

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