For the past year and a half I have been torturing my hands with hours of note taking in my evening classes. I have countless notebooks with notes on random subjects from random semesters. There is no organization to speak of and there never will be. Why do I subject myself to such torture? Why not just bring my computer to class like all of the fancy teenagers?
My laptop was purchased very hastily upon my reentering academia. It was the cheapest model I could find and came with only the very basic accoutrements. It has no webcam, no microphone, no fancy programs and no dignity. I brought this dinosaur to class with me once in the Fall of 2009. I hefted it out of my shoulder-bag, thumped it onto what passes for a desk these days and then began to look around. My classmates were all tapping away on adorable MacBooks or tiny notebooks as I cleared my immediate area and creaked open my 95-inch screen. I had to sit in the back so the entire class couldn’t read my Facebook information. The other students had to be wondering when I would be pulling out a floppy disc to save my notes from the night. It was embarrassing. I have resigned myself to hand-writing notes since that fateful night. Until now.
After receiving a surprise (albeit small) scholarship from GVSU I decided to finally join the cool kids and get something a little more portable. I certainly didn’t want to make the same mistake I had previously, so rather than shop online and in a hurry, I ducked into Best Buy for some professional help.
I always feel awkward when I’m in an unfamiliar retail situation. Unfamiliar meaning anything other than clothing or makeup. I didn’t know how to get someone to come assist me, so I basically just wandered up and down the aisles, touching various laptops and trying to look perplexed. This method seemed to work (after 5 minutes of me looking like a tool) and a tech-savvy employee materialized behind me, scaring me to the point of physical reaction. She laughed, squinted up at me and asked if there was anything she could help me with. Once I recovered I was able to explain that I was looking for a laptop, nothing too fancy, within my specified price range. She laughed again (confusing me about where the humor in my description was) and then another presumably tech-savvy employee appeared at her side. She introduced him as her “knight in shining armor <giggle giggle>” and promptly left. This confused me for two reasons:
1. This particular man didn’t look like anyone’s knight in shining armor. He was unkempt from his shaky facial hairline to his rumpled khakis and as far as I could tell, there was no white horse to be seen.
2. I wasn’t sure why she needed a knight to begin with. I didn’t think I had put her in a rescue-worthy situation. After all, I basically asked for any laptop that fit into my price range. I could have done it myself if only they let customers into the stockroom.
Maybe they didn’t allow women to sell computers. I mean, stranger things have happened. Men aren’t allowed to don the skimpy tank tops and booty shorts and serve you chicken wings, so maybe Best Buy puts their best package forward and assumes customers will take the men more seriously. Ordinarily I would object to such a practice, since I claim to be somewhat of a feminist (Ok…I’ve never claimed that), but this particular sales-girl had pigtails and excessive giggles that made me sigh with relief at the appearance of someone with a Y-chromosome. Still, I couldn’t help but wish for the damsel-in-distress when I struggled to explain to my bespectacled and betesticled salesman that I wanted a “pretty” laptop and not the clunker he was suggesting. He looked at me blankly for a full minute and then asked me to point him in the direction of my choosing.
After following Mr. Geek Squad’s wedgie around the computer department for what seemed like eternity, I settled on a smallish HP notebook that fit all of my previously described specifications. And it’s pretty. Tonight will be the first night I can take notes (and stalk FB) in class without the shame and embarrassment I imagined before.
So despite your extreme social awkwardness, Geek Squad, I thank you for reducing mine!