With the end of the semester fast approaching, Laura and I decided it was time to head back to our tutorials. The 17-year-olds had let it slip that now was the time to attend; turns out the tutors give you all kinds of useful information, such as what will be on the final exam.
How things had changed. Lucky to find a seat together in the first five weeks, we now had more than thirty spots to choose from. It also helped that Laura had ditched her HP laptop, circa mid-90s, for the uber trendy MacBook Air and no longer needed to be in the vicinity of an electrical outlet. We could finally sit next to each other.
We were reminiscing about the good old days, you know from Week Four, when I’d slip my own MacBook Air into my bag but still have to wait ten minutes for Laura to put away her laptop charger and then channel her inner weight lifter in order to hoik The Brick up off the desk. Weighing in at a hefty 5.5kg, The Brick was also notoriously slow and temperamental.
Laura couldn’t close the screen, as doing so would result in a twenty-minute wait for The Brick to wake up again. It also meant that she was required to lug it from our tutorial to our lecture, with the screen open. I knew we’d never fit in with the 17-year-olds and, given I was twice their age, I didn’t want to. But that walk, although short in length, was both arduous and embarrassing. It was also the only time Laura and I came close to falling out.
Laura talked about trading The Brick in for a MacBook Air but, for some reason, The Brick had a hold over her. It reminded me of that boyfriend (or girlfriend) we’ve all had. You know that he isn’t good for you. Your friends know that he isn’t good for you. But, for some unknown reason, you still can’t get let go.
I knew I had to tread carefully. Rather than telling Laura to just dump The Brick in the nearest bin and head to the Mac Shop I began the subtle process of undermining her relationship.
‘Lucy, have you downloaded the PowerPoint presentation for today’s lecture?’
‘Yep. I just downloaded it then. Took thirty seconds. Just a sec, I’ll finish sending this email and then put the presentation on a USB for you.’
Pause for effect.
‘You can send email and work on PowerPoint at the same time?’
‘Oh yeah. Oh, sorry, just one more second… Will just messaged me. He’s cooking dinner for his new girlfriend and needs a recipe.’
‘Wait, you can message, email AND use PowerPoint at the same time?’
Pause for effect. Make eye contact.
‘Of course. You mean, you can’t?’
Pause for the curtain to fall, reopen. And bow. Yes, I am that good.
Laura went out and bought a MacBook Air the following day without me needing to utter one unkind word about The Brick. Until The Intervention.
Will and Laura had come over for brunch so that Will could install software on Laura’s new MacBook Air. Anyone who has a friend who’s an IT geek knows that you do everything you can to keep them around – they’re invaluable when technology fails you at midnight and you have an assignment/report due the next day.
Making brunch for Will was a reminder that I was worthy of his friendship. It was also – in part – a thank you for the panicked call he’d received the week before when my Internet had died and I couldn’t access a single YouTube video. He knows that I can’t live without YouTube.
Will was in the midst of showing Laura all the magical ways she could use her MacBook Air when she disclosed that she had decided on an open relationship – she’d use her MacBook Air for uni and keep The Brick to use at home. Will and I were shocked.
Laura went out to her car to get The Brick’s charger. It had been five minutes without having had access to an electrical outlet.
Will whispered at me frantically.
‘We have to have an intervention. She cannot go home with that thing.’
I was shocked. Will is a live and let live kind of guy and although we’d known each other for 17 years, I’d yet to see him get involved in someone else’s business.
‘Lucy! She cannot go home with that thing. We have to have an intervention.’
Laura returned and connected The Brick’s charger, mere moments after it had died from a low battery. It was a sign.
‘Laura, Will and I need to talk to you about something…’
I put my hand on her shoulder, paused to give her time to process that something important was coming, and told her that it was time to let The Brick go. An open relationship wasn’t an option when you had a brand new MacBook Air.
‘But maybe I could use it as a paperweight?’
Will stopped, shook his head and gave Laura a pointed look.
‘It’s not even fit for landfill.’
The arrival of a text message the following day heralded the arrival of a new era and the knowledge that Will and I had been forgiven for our impromptu intervention:
Now, six weeks later, and having returned to attend our tutorials, we decided to update Will about our now model-student status. Except this time Laura sent updates via Messages on Brainy, rather than using her phone. It seemed like a much more respectful way to engage with the outside world whilst our tutor rabbited on about statutory interpretation.
In hindsight, he would have known there was no way any student, no matter how studious, would find statutory interpretation that amusing. In our defence, we did have some pretty exciting news.
A week later we were back at the Optomertrist, picking up our new glasses. Both of us opted to wear our fun pair then and there; the more serious pair could wait for another time. Waiting at the lights, Laura turned to look at me and I just knew that she was about to proffer some insightful tidbit. Or perhaps I was just desperate to hear anything that contradicted the overwhelming sense that I’m getting old.
‘You know, Lucy, it’s pretty fun growing up. I like it.’
Her statement, although simple, was profound. It is fun growing up, aside from the impaired vision, of course.
‘Even being able to say, “Do you take Amex?” Platinum Amex, mind you. None of those punks get to do that.’
I laughed. She was correct. Or at least I hoped she was. Otherwise those punks – also known as the-17-year-olds – either had rich parents or no concept of the evils of credit cards.
We were only five minutes late but the tutorial had already started. I opened the door and was about to slip quietly into the room when Laura turned to me and whispered:
‘Oh and remind me I drove my car to uni today.’
I stopped, already half way into the room, and burst out laughing.
Growing up is fun, aside from the impaired vision. And the predisposition toward forgetfulness.