Written the day the first iPad came out.
When I woke up this morning, the last thing I wanted to do was cheat on my laptop.
She accepts me, never complains that I bring her everywhere or that I still type with two fingers and she never tells anyone where she hides my folder of inappropriate links.
And I’m a dirtbag, no better than Tiger Woods. She has lovingly rested upon my lap, year after year, and still there I was, the eighth person in line at my neighborhood Best Buy. Like the rest of the traitors ahead of me, I was there for the new girl. Her name is iPad.
My wife was no better. She was the one who woke our whole family so we could get to Best Buy before they opened. “We’ll make it an adventure. The kids will have fun,” she insisted.
Just before our line began to move, a lady parked her car and walked past us and towards the repair counter with an old Windows laptop under her arm. Sad, surely. But at least there was some loyalty. Not from me though. I slicked back my hair, rubbed a few wrinkles out of my shirt and with both fists, grabbed with gusto my sixty-four gigabyte mistress.
When we got home and I saw the glory of the unboxed machine — sleek, sexy, magnetic — I finally understood how Jennifer must have felt when Angelina came into the picture.
Our toddlers were climbing over my shoulders clambering towards the new toy and asking to see Barbie games and Marvel comics. They were just as mesmerized as we were and they wanted to touch it.
Unlike our old laptops, our kids refused to sit quietly on the couch and accept the neglect. “Try, try” cried my daughter. “Let me have a turn,” begged my son.
“Hold on!” I yelled impatiently. “Dadda is syncing! It’s not ready.”
My wife got more creative, “If you guys go and take your naps right now, then when you wake up we can watch movies, eat cake and ice cream, dress up in costumes and have a big party. But only if you go to sleep right now.”
It was 9:37am.
Finally we downloaded some apps and test drove our newest family member. The keyboard operated better than expected when we typed our names into the Birthday Cake app. Look at the HD quality of our Netflix movies!
And then we showed Winnie the Pooh to our kids. “Look kids, I can turn it sideways and see two facing pages like a real book and if I hit this letter the font gets bigger.”
But they didn’t understand. They actually wanted us to read Winnie the Pooh to them. We’re early adopters I tried to explain. We don’t have time to read.
I looked over at my wife as she downloaded another fifty bucks worth of apps, her face aglow in the iPad.
“Are you crying?” I asked.
“No,” she answered. “I just haven’t blinked since we opened the box.” Then she sighed. “I hate to say it, but I wish they came out with this before we had kids.”
I barely heard her. I wanted my turn. Sensing that both she and the kids might be in danger, my wife took them upstairs. And there we were. Just the two of us.
I wanted to quickly fire up the on-screen keyboard and start making 140 character pronouncements about what this device means for the future of newspapers, magazines, gaming, movies, television, computing, reading, writing, communicating and life itself, but then I realized it had already been out in the marketplace for nearly fifty-one minutes. It was way too late to still have a meaningful opinion on any of these topics.
And besides, who could think of others with us finally alone. I poured a glass of bubbly. I dribbled a handful of rose petals on the corner seat of my couch and rested her upon them. I pressed play on my Barry White Pandora station. I opened Safari and pulled up one of my favorite old blog posts. I leaned in. And yes. I kissed her. And it felt good. Her battery runs cool, but she felt hot in my hands.
But then I stopped. I came to my senses. I started to download games, children’s books and educational apps. I deleted any access to email, Twitter or Facebook. I knew at that moment I was being pulled back towards my family. Maybe I could have both, a functional family and an iPad?
I don’t know where this story will end (or even whether I will read it vertically or horizontally). For what it’s worth, I’m back typing this post on my old laptop with her creaky keyboard. And while we can pretend everything is the same, she saw me download those iBooks. So we both know who I’m taking to bed with me tonight.