I decided earlier this year that I am getting my parents wireless Internet for Christmas. Rather, I am giving them a wireless router and a laptop with which to use it. The laptop is a cheap one that I bought off eBay. I plan to be very clear about that when I give it to them. It’s a “starter laptop” to see if they end up using the wireless. If they do, then Dad can go out and buy a better one. Meanwhile, they’ll have a functional one.
It’s a risky gift because it’s not something that my parents have asked for and it’s not cheap by Truman gift-giving standards. Further, it’s one of those gifts that in order to really be worthwhile may require them spending as much (or more) money than I did. Now, the main reason I am getting the laptop is to sidestep the latter part. I don’t want to give them a wireless router and say “Okay, now go out and spend $500 to see this work!” But I can’t afford to spend $500 on the chance that they will like it. So instead I spent $200 on something that should suffice. Impossible to tell for sure because Mom’s computers have a tendency to slow down to a creeping halt for reasons I have not been able to put my finger on.
Anyway, so Clancy and I both brought our laptops to Shell Beach. The condos come with Internet and it’s good to stay connected. Dad commented, as I unfolded the laptop for the first time, about how he doesn’t like laptops. He doesn’t like the eraserhead or trackpad. He would all-around prefer to be at a desk. Of course, as he says this I get that sinking feeling that I am going to have to go back to the drawing board for Christmas. I hope beyond hope that as he uses my laptop over the week that he will at least get to see some of the convenience of a laptop and WiFi.
He did. A little too well, I’m afraid. It became extremely helpful to have Internet access on the trip to the point of nigh-indispensibility. About midweek he said that maybe he should give laptops a chance. Then, by the end of the week, he said that if Clancy and I ever decline to bring our laptops he may need to buy one just for Shell Beach.
So I’m crossing my fingers and hoping that he was just thinking aloud. Because he and I share in common a trait. Once we decide we’re going to do something, we do it immediately. He’s not likely to put off buying the thing until next summer. If he wants one for next summer, he’ll buy it next month. Sort of like how I bought his Christmas gift in March. So I’ll have to see if there’s anything I can do to talk him out of buying a laptop.
Of course, if he does end up getting a laptop, that must means that I will have another one hanging around the house. It’s a long story, but we have quite a few now. There is the one that Clancy had before we got married. It’s functional, if not useful. There’s the one I had at the time which broke down about a year ago. Each were replaced by laptops that we’re using now. Then when I bought Dad’s, I happened to win two bids at the same time and got two more laptops. Then, by shuffling some parts around, I got the laptop that died a year ago working again.
So between the two of us we have five laptops. Not counting Dad’s. It wouldn’t kill me to have a sixth. Clancy might, though.