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Life Without a Laptop, Week 1

When the iPhone came out this summer, I was locked into a contract with another cell phone carrier, one that I couldn't escape on pain of a $200 surcharge. So I waited it out, and dreamed my little iPhone dreams all alone with my Plain Jane cell phone and suddenly archaic-looking iPod Video.

To be honest, I didn't really need an iPhone. I work from home, rarely more than a few yards from a computer (we had two laptops and a Mini in our house at the time). I don't travel for work, and when we go on vacation, I never bring work with me anyway. When I do leave the house for extended periods of time during the day, running errands, taking appointments, etc, it doesn't matter because I'd trained myself to plan ahead for that situation. Besides, I never get any messages that can't wait a couple hours until I get back to a computer anyway.

I was amazingly good at rationalizing away my need for an iPhone, but I still wanted one ever so badly. So last week I created a way out.

I applied the same reasoning about my working environment that I'd used to wish away my iPhone lust and applied it to my laptop. I didn't need it exactly; I did all my real work on the desktop in my home office, and that MacBook Pro was strictly a sitting on the couch and dicking around on the internet while I watch TV machine, quite a waste really. So I decided I could live without it, hocked it on eBay, and used the proceeds to buy an iPhone and pay that cell contract ransom.

It was the worst kind of materialism, I know. When I walked out of the Apple Store that day, I felt a little bit dirty, like a junkie who just pawned his mother's wedding ring to score. But I'm proud of myself for practicing a little budget restraint--I actually made money on the whole transaction--and for once I didn't simply add to the gadget pile, I swapped out the old for the new.

As for the adjustment to life without a laptop, it's going slowly but surely. The iPhone obviously fills that sitting on the couch, watching TV void, though sometimes I still feel a lingering ghost pain burning on my thighs when I want Google a bit actor on CSI. My work hasn't suffered one bit though, because now I know that my already limited time in front of a proper computer is even more precious. Addition by subtraction, I say.

I'm sure I'll give in to laptop envy again at some point, say, if Apple starts making that coveted sub-notebook, or when my son goes off to school and I have more freedom to move around. But for now this has been a useful experiment, and a heckuva way to justify an early Christmas present.

4ster's picture

Made money on the deal

I'm not good with numbers, so forgive me if I'm missing something obvious here. It seems to me that you could not have made money on the deal unless you sold the notebook for what you paid for it plus the cost of the iPhone and the termination fee. Is this what happened, or did you mean that what you got for the notebook was greater than what the iPhone + ETF cost?




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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