My Mac is back in the shop. It has TS4088. When it switches GPUs to save power, if the computer is hot enough, it crashes. It’s common on this specific make and vintage, and it’s the problem with buying a computer on the first day of a major revision. I complained to the right person, and Apple agreed to swap out the entire logic board for free. Now I just have to wait. I’m using S’s computer in the meantime, which is much faster than my 2007 MacBook, but I only have my most vital of files on it, like my new book I’m writing. Maybe this will make me get more done.
My computer is now just shy of three years old. Once it is back, I am swapping in an SSD drive, which is currently sitting on my desk. It’s still a good computer, fast and light and well-constructed and all of that. The logic board thing is unfortunate. I hope that when it’s replaced, I can get another year or two out of it, although three years is about the right timespan for upgrading. The only thing I miss having is that the newer models can mirror their entire screen to the Apple TV, and mine can’t. I don’t know what I’d use that for, especially since it’s easy enough for me to mirror any movies on my computer to the TV.
I went to the Apple store to drop it off. I drive down this ghetto back road that is barely paved, like an Indiana road. I hit a pothole and one of my wheel covers came off. It rolled like a Tron deadly disc and went right under a moving semi truck. Now my car looks weird, with three silver wheels and one black. I went online and the official Toyota wheel cover is $80 each, or I can get a set of four generic ones with no Toyota logo for $30. I ordered the generic ones.
As I was walking down from the second floor above me, there was a woman walking in front of me. She looked sort of like that woman from Cagney and Lacey who was later on Nip/Tuck, the kind of woman that still wears 80s pantsuits with the giant padded shoulders. She was trying to carry an airline roller bag down the stairs and somehow became discombobulated and fell dramatically, half-flinging the bag, which slammed into the metal hand rail, then bounced and hit the stairs hard, falling down a dozen steps to the landing. The fall was so stupid and awkward, I was certain she triggered it from some kind of brain aneurysm. I stopped and asked her if she was okay, and she said she was, but papers from the bag were everywhere.
I’ve been noticing more weird episodes like this every time I leave the house. Like almost every time I go to a store, someone is in a shouting match with a clerk. I went to the drug store last week, and this woman was screaming at the pharmacist. HIPPA rules probably prevent the public disclosure of prescription information, but this woman was screaming the entire episode over and over, so I know what it was. The pharmacist called her doctor to check on something, and it turns out they could not fill her vicodin prescription for two weeks because she just filled her methadone prescription. It seems like everyone around is on massive amounts of oxycontin, and can’t sleep at night without valium, and takes a dozen of those five-hour energy drinks every day. And then when they go to a store, and a clerk is just doing their job, they scream at them like the CIA just called in a drone strike on them because someone misspelled their last name.
The last time I picked up a computer at the Apple store, this happened. The system is simple: you make an appointment, they help you with your computer. So they brought my computer out, and set it down in front of a cashier, and all I needed to do was show her my ID, and she would hand it to me, and say “have a nice day” or something. But in that heartbeat between the guy handing it to her and me showing her the ID, a guy comes up, no appointment, broken phone, “I DROVE TWENTY MINUTES YOU NEED TO HELP ME WHERE IS YOUR FUCKING MANAGER.” I just needed to flash my driver’s license, take the computer 18 inches from my hands, put it in my bag, and he doesn’t even give her a chance to speak, just continuing over and over “I DON’T UNDERSTAND I DROVE ALL THE WAY HERE FROM WALNUT CREEK AND YOU GUYS CANT JUST LOOK AT MY PHONE I DONT WANT AN APPOINTMENT NEXT TUESDAY I JUST DROVE TWENTY MINUTES.” And so on.
I used to work in retail. We’d have customers like this. It wasn’t every day, maybe once or twice a week. Is it worse? Is my timing just bad? Does everyone think they are the center of the universe? Has the internet made us hate big companies? Is the quality of everything so shitty now, with everything outsourced and nickel-and-dimed to the point of nothingness, that everything always breaks, with no recourse? Are we all just cynics because we can’t believe anything anymore?
I’m trying not to let things like this bother me anymore, trying to give people the benefit of the doubt, trying not to lose my cool when it takes someone too long to do something. I was at the post office the other day, and they were training a new cashier, and I had to mail a book to New Zealand. The 2-minute transaction took about 7 minutes. I think 80% of the people in Oakland would have fucking ended that trainee right there, cut off his head with his own chained-down pen and fucked his windpipe as the blood gushed out of his severed arteries. I just smiled, and let him learn. He’s a trainee. It’s a post office job, and if he doesn’t lose it six weeks from now, it’s a good job and he’ll have a pension that hopefully won’t vanish soon. He could be out stripping the wiring out of houses and selling it for meth, but he’s learning to work at a vital position so he can feed his kids and pay taxes that might someday repave that fucking road that ate my wheel cover. I’ll give him the five minutes.
So I sit down at the Genius Bar, show the guy my paperwork, he starts to run tests on my MacBook. Right next to me sits down the Cagney and Lacey woman. She pulls out her MacBook Air that just fell down two flights of metal stairs. It has a cracked screen. “I have no idea what happened. It must be defective.”