Ever since my sister got a MacBook a few years ago, she's been sending me emails asking me how to do things like copy files, send emails. At one point, she even asked me how to turn the damned thing on.
Maryanne doesn't have a lot of experience with computers, and that's why she sees me as a sort of family tech-support. When she has a problem, I am the first person she calls. I really don't know the answers without Googling but I don't mind, it gives me an opportunity to call her an idiot. Lovingly, of course.
The only time we talk is when she has computer problems. A while back her AirPort died. It was during that troubleshooting session that I learned that her boyfriend had moved in with her. I also found out that he didn't work because he was busy "exploring himself" as a collage artist. I suggested that she go buy a $15 wireless router rather than spending $100 on an expensive Apple gimmick. She told me that collage-boy refused to use anything but Mac products because of Feng Shui, apparently it went better with the cheap Ikea furniture.
My next brotherly tech-support call happened a month later. Maryanne's life had gone to hell; she was unhappy with her computer, she was about to lose her job and Renault, if that was his real name, had gone off on some sort of spiritual journey. She asked me if she should get the new MacBook Pro. I told her that I would save her a lot of money and build a PC for her.
For about a week, she called me pretty regularly asking about different Apple computers. Secretly, I suspected that she wanted to talk about Renault. She would ask me if $2500 was too much to spend on a computer; I died a little inside when I realized that Apple computer would cost more than my last car.
Still, I enjoyed her calling me -- I didn't get to talk to my sister very often. But after that, it was months before I heard from her again. Renault had returned from his walkabout and wormed his way back into Maryanne's life. She sent me an email saying they were planning to get married. Worse than that, Maryanne had replaced her old Mac with a new 17" MacBook.
I fretted for a few days before I decided that I needed to do something about her addiction to shallow, overrated things. Otherwise, she might marry this guy, move to San Francisco and sell novelty bongs from the back of a VW bus and I would never hear from her again. She needed a brother, a new outlook on life and an escape from shallow consumerism.
I had no other choice; I had to build her the best PC I could for less than $400. I had some old parts that saved me a hundred dollars or so, plus a few hours spent swearing at tiny screws produced what I considered a personal triumph. The computer was solid, nowhere near as sleek as a Mac, but, more importantly, I knew its parts so intimately that, if it ever broke, I could simply reach into its guts and tear out any defective parts like a back alley surgeon.
I showed up at her apartment door. From inside, I smelled the incense and really shitty pot. I pushed on the door and it swung open; a shirtless man with his eyes closed sat cross-legged on the living room floor. Maryanne's crappy furniture was gone, replaced by gaudy Indian throw pillows. Had Maryanne been a victim of crackhead Queer Eye impersonators?