I have few things down here to keep me entertained while I'm not teaching or running around trying to find something more interesting to do. Since I only work about 20 hours a week, I find a lot of down time, and as a result, wind up spending a lot of time watching DVDs or going on the Internet. Basically, it's like having a lot of down time at home, only instead of sitting on the couch and channel surfing, I'm laying on my bed and watching "Simpsons" DVDs on my lap top. But in the last couple of days, my lap top has been giving me quite a scare.
It's over 2 years old now, my Dell Inspiron E1505, and even though I've heard people complain about Dell computers, I've never had a problem with mine. In fact, it's worked much better than many other computers my friends have had. But lately it's been showing its age. That, and the fact that it only has about 55 gigabytes on it means that I was never able to do anything spectacular with it. I originally bought it because I was going to study in Spain and wanted to be able to play movies on something, as well as have a way to keep in touch with family and friends back home without having to always use an Internet cafe computer.
Originally against lap tops years ago, I soon found myself a fan, and now wouldn't want to go back to a desktop. But that's irrelevant, really. The point is, this computer of mine is dying, and there's really nothing I can do about it. The battery is supposed to last 6 hours, when in reality it lasts for about an hour and a half, leaving me with little time to get everything accomplished on busier days. The memory is nearly full, so it's slower and I can't load up all of my pictures or any new music. And several times in the last couple of days it has simply frozen or been so slow that I couldn't do anything, and I've had to shut it down and try booting it up again.
All of the files of importance are backed up on a hard drive, so I'm not as concerned about losing the writing, pictures, and music I've acquired over the years, but I'm mainly concerned about what I'll do when this lap top dies. As my dad says, the lap top is my life line down here. It's the only way I can really keep in touch with anyone frequently and entertain myself. It's how I'm able to write so many of these blogs without the hassle of having to go to a cafe and spend extra money. I don't have a ton of friends to hang out with down here, and can't always bother the same people to do something, especially during the week. And in my house it's usually just me in my room with no windows and dim lighting. It's how I can relax with some music, or just watch some movie or show after a day of work before bed. Sure, I have some books I can read, but reading for 7 hours a day was something I did in college.
I know that for my next computer I'd want to get a Macbook, and though I was originally not a fan of Macs, I've slowly warmed up to them. The only problem is there's no way I can afford even the base model. Not with a move to Argentina coming up and a low bank account figure. And there are other things I want or need. I want a new iPod to replace the one that was stolen back in September. I want a better lens for my camera. I want some new clothes. It seems like everything is starting to fall apart at once, and there's no way I can replace it all. I was hoping this lap top would last longer, but it might not be the case.
The funny thing about all of this is it's exactly what I wanted in the first place. I came to Ecuador hoping to get away from the constant use of computers and Internet and to just focus on some writing and get to know my surroundings better. I knew how releasing it felt to be away from all of the bothers of technology when I was in Spain. Yet when you do check back after a week or two and see an Inbox of 40 emails, it's both daunting and a thrill. I was almost disappointed to find that my host family had wireless, yet I've realized since that there's really no way to avoid the Internet, and it's better to have the convenience than to have to struggle to find a connection across town. After all, it's helped me continue to blog, so I can't complain about that.
I wonder if this lap top does bite the dust while I'm still here, how will I find ways to kill the monotony and boredom throughout the day? I guess I could write in a journal more often, or just take longer walks around the town. As brutal as it may be for the first week or so, unplugging might not be a bad thing. Still, with little else around to keep me busy, I'm hoping the life support continues to work until I get home. Otherwise you might as well pull the plug on me.