I own two computers–a hefty, stationary PC and an unassuming little MacBook Pro. My PC sits on the left side of my corner desk. My MacBook Pro lives on the right. I’ve outfitted my PC with a large, impressive screen and I’ve propped that screen to an ergonomically perfect height by placing it on Black’s Law Dictionary. (That is what BLD is for, right?) It has a wireless keyboard with a zillion keys, a friendly gel pad and a snazzy little wireless mouse. It’s black and forbidding and it looks like the place where impressive work goes to happen. It’s a work computer.
While I do battle with my PC, my little MacBook Pro watches from its quieter side of the desk. Yes, it’s a work computer too. I bought it because I needed a laptop for the days I spend in my client’s offices. But, as I became acquainted with my new little friend, something funny happened. I realized that my little friend was more than just a portable way to work. It was a different way to work.
It’s … well … it’s sensual. Those flat little keys are deliciously tactile and they make the most satisfying little click when I type. And just a whisper of a stroke makes letters happen. Words fly. Those words becomes sentences, then paragraphs. The experience is so seamless and enticing that ideas fly whole from my brain to the page. The speed itself is intoxicating and new ideas flow in to fill the empty brain spaces left behind. I pause and let my fingers wander on the trackpad just for the joy of it. My cursor swims. I try two fingers and give it a swoop. And my little friend remembers my gesture even after I’ve lifted my fingers. She soars through my pages and she seems to be having fun, too. And I like taking her places with me. She’s light but solid. And that stainless steel makes me think of my kitchen rather than my office.
My MacBook Pro makes me want to write because it makes the physical work of writing a pleasure. She brings back the joy of putting a sharp pencil to an unbroken white page. She makes me believe that I am a creative person and that my work is meaningful. Often when I sit on the left side of my desk, managing files and documents, she calls to me from her sunny spot on the right side. A friend–patiently waiting, with the promise that she has better things in mind for me.
Steve Jobs greatest skill may have been the clever way he squeezed money from our pockets. But, in return for that money, he gave us an experience–a real, finger-frolicking, delicious romp with technology that unleashed us, rather than enslaved us.
And I thank him for that.