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Sam came to live at our house eight years ago. He has moved home with us six times since. He accompanied me on all my travels, sitting next to me on plane, train and bus. Even on my lap when necessary. He was with me when I almost got mugged in Granada. We were together in Oslo, in London and New York. Now our old faithful friend lies in our bedroom, slowly passing away, his memory gradually fading. I can hardly bear to watch. Though it would probably be the best thing, I can’t bring myself to pull the plug on him forever.
He arrived from South Korea by way of China. The attache case style box he came in had his full name emblazoned across it in big letters. Sam Sung. Apart from all the other problems cyberlife brings, how do others cope when an old computer begins to give up the ghost?
As yet, there are no residential homes for laptops declining with age. No home help, or agency nurse popping round to make sure everything’s all right. No sympathetic shoulder to cry on. No one to share to the inevitable distress caused knowing the next time could be the one his little light goes out forever.
The new HP laptop sits proudly on the desk in the spare room, its screen shining brightly. Like a new baby gurgling in the nursery while grandad waits in the bedroom for Father Time to take him away.
Meanwhile I have the unenviable task of extracting as much information, and shared memories, as I can from my old friend. There’s a sense of betrayal as I pass it all on to HP; a feeling I’m engaging in some sort of dastardly espionage.
HP, the very name conjures up visions of a double agent working for both sides. A traitor only referred to by his initials. At best he could be an office aquaintance, someone you might take coffee with, but wouldn’t dream of inviting home. You can always depend on someone with a name like Sam. Old Sam, there whenever you need him. Somehow I think HP will always be HP. I can’t imagine myself getting round to thinking of the initials as representing a name. Like Harry Potter, for instance. He just doesn’t seem like a Harry. Or a Potter.
There was almost no one better to share my photos, my stories, my thoughts and my jokes with than Sam. How we would laugh. Or was I doing it by myself? No, Sam laughed too, I swear he did. I could wake him up at any time of day or night. He never complained. And he’s still there. Still there, as I bleed him of our memories. How treacherous, passing our secrets on to HP. HP doesn’t care. Quite the opposite, he keeps on demanding more and more information. He wants to know my address, my phone number, and all sorts of personal details, even though we’ve just met. I feel he doesn’t trust me. And I can’t say I trust him. Especially now we’ve connected him directly to the net. Sam never had that. We feared he might catch a virus. I know HP’s passing the information I give him on to third parties. We have a spy in our home. Never felt that with Sam, and I don’t want to let him know what’s happening.
Copyright 2012 © Bryan Hemming
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