Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Old tools, new tools

It's official -- my computer has died. Luckily, its precious memories live on in its child -- our external hard drive. However, one cannot live on memories alone. I need a replacement.

This is not an exciting purchase for me to contemplate -- it does not compare to, say, a trip to Threadbear in Lansing. This is more like replacing the water heater -- an expensive necessity. But it is a necessity -- I cannot keep working from Scott's computer whenever it's not busy doing his actual business stuff.

I have to say, I'm also feeling annoyed. Irritated. Ticked. The late computer was only 3 and a half. I know the computer geeks out there (like my son) will assure me that that is old for a computer. But, see, for $1,500, I expected a longer time together.

This has prompted comparisons between this tool -- so necessary when one's profession is that of editor -- and the tools I use in the other, unpaid part of my life. I have knitting needles that are older than my children. They have never broken. In fact, I think I've only ever broken a couple of Brittany Birches and the cable ends from one KnitPicks Options cable. Not bad for more than 24 years of knitting. And we're talking, what -- $10?

I also have a couple of spinning wheels. I've had them for a long time. I understand them. In sentimental moments, I like to think they understand me. It's a beautiful relationship -- when I am stressed, they help calm me; when they have a problem, I can actually make them better. They do not require an examination by a computer student, followed by a terminal diagnosis I can barely understand.

And I have to say that I think my knitting and spinning tools help me produce things of beauty. Colorful yarns, cabled sweaters, lace, the top for my wedding dress.

I'm not sure that anything I produce on the computer, this much more expensive and complicated tool, ever compares.

Well, maybe the occasional poem.


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