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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Pass the Picalilli

I am in a deli. I am surrounded by jars of pickled vegetables, instant Nescafe and nuts-by-the-pound. Apparantly while I wasn't looking all the neighborhood bodegas and 99 cent stores began offering internet access for cheap. I have the following options within two blocks of my apartment:

1. This deli. A favorite local Greek spot (currently owned by a pair of devastatingly handsome brothers from Bangladesh) sporting a fabulous selection of feta, olives and international beers. Pros: always smells like fresh Spanakopita, relatively quiet. Cons: uncomfortable chairs, computers reside next to the frozen foods...too cold. No printing.

2. The candy store. One part candy/cigarette/magazine store one part kitchen appliances outlet. This is one of those weird "Everything" stores that are so prevalent in NYC immigrant neighborhoods. You can grab a cup of coffee, pick up a toaster oven and buy a gift for your Mom long as your Mom would appreciate a red rose floating in a snowglobe. Now with internet and color printing! This is a major upgrade for this place: they used to only send faxes. Pros: they do not have a 30 minute minimum like the other places and will allow you 5 minutes for 50 cents. Handy for the late-for-work email check. Cons: constantly busy and noisy because of the Lotto counter.

3. The CyberCenter. This was the first dedicated internet locatation in the neighborhood. There are about 30 computers there, each with a webcam and headphones. I haven't owned a printer since college, so when I went back to nursing school I would email myself my papers and print them here. At $3 for 60 minutes I assumed they'd be out of business in a year, but they're still going strong probably because they charge 50 cents a page to print. Pros: cheapest place in the area. Cons: After 3pm on weekdays it's filled with teenaged boys playing online mano-y-mano videogames at volumes you simply wouldn't believe (the boys, not the games). And they have these weird giant black pleather reclining chairs that are probably great for gaming but are completely shitty for typing. I can't type at such an angle.

With my computer gone for 7-10 days, I'll be spending a lot of time in these internet joints. I have had to make a sort of Computer Contingency Plan: I can check my email twice a day in the neighborhood and catch up on blogs and videoblogs at work so long as it isn't busy and the MDs aren't bugging me to use the unit's only computer for MD-related stuff (they're always claiming that they have work to do! Imagine!).

The bummer about my computer crashing isn't just the disappearance of everything I was working on (I was enjoying a renewed videoblogging fervor and was working on 5 different videos at once; unheard of for me), the annoyance of having to reload 350 cds into iTunes, and tons of photo loss; what really scares me is the distinct possibility that Apple will discover or invent something wrong with the computer that puts me at fault--like finding remnants of bluberry pie filling in my optical drive, for example-- thereby rendering my AppleCare warantee null and void. I can barely sleep because of this. I've been so incredibly careful with that computer, and I've been so good about backing up...until this month, of course. If AppleCare refuses to fix it, the bill will be upwards of $1400. Basically that translates into "buy a new one".

That's a lot of overtime. And it's Christmas. I can't spend that kind of money on myself at Christmas.

But without a computer, I'm not sure I know who I am anymore. Isn't that terribly sad? That's what has really been eating at me lately.
posted by missbhavens @ 1:03 PM |


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