Early one recent morning, I was getting out of my truck in the parking lot at my office. I was in my usual ready-for-work mood, but a little annoyed by some crazy predawn tweet from you know who that the news show hosts were discussing on the radio.
The tweet involved some claim that was about 40 percent factual. You know, the usual stuff, but still enough be as irritating as bits of shells in scrambled eggs.
Still, I was prepared for the day ahead. I had a lot to do, and most of it had to be done by 10:30 a.m. As I looked around my vehicle I started to become a little nervous. I looked under the seats. My nervousness escalated from fear to sheer panic.
I had felt that kind of uneasiness a few days earlier when I had left my cellphone at home. Somehow, I was able to make it through the morning without it. But I had raced across the city at lunchtime to find that crucial piece of daily life.
Luckily, my world had not crashed for those five hours I was without my phone. But, this day was different. I could not find my laptop. I use it as a companion to my work PC. For the most part, I don’t use it that often. It’s more of a backup. It’s there if everything collapses. I feel comfortable that it is around.
I debated with myself. Do I drive the more than one-hour round trip to get it and risk not making my deadlines or be totally miserable all day? After about two minutes of beating myself up for forgetting the laptop, I decided to risk it.
Then I started a walk that was new to me. I was strolling into the office with nothing in my hand. It had not happened since I was newspaper reporter some 16 years ago.
It was so relaxing. It was so freeing. I had cut that umbilical cord. I was like Linus in the comic strip Peanuts. I finally let go of that security blanket, and I felt great. I was ecstatic.
I went into my office and sat down to my desk without having to maneuver that computer briefcase anywhere. It was a strange, yet exhilarating feeling.
But after I sat down, fear washed over me. How was I going to exist without my laptop? What if my work computer died, and I didn’t have a backup? What about the backup files I have on my computer? What if? What if?
Was meeting those deadlines really that important? After about 15 minutes of “Should I?” or “Should I not?,” I decided to wait it out and try to fetch my laptop at lunch, but my schedule, as it turned out, wouldn't allow it.
When I left work that evening, the same awesome feeling I had that morning returned. I wasn’t carrying anything to my vehicle.
Once again, I felt free. I felt good. Wait, I thought, I should do this all of the time. Do I really need that darn laptop? That does it, I decided. I was intoxicated by my new freedom.
The next morning, I was ready for my new life. My free life. I looked over at the bag with the laptop in it where I had left it the day before. I thought about the liberation I felt the day before. It was so wonderful. Wow, I wanted so much to feel that again.
It was raining that morning. As I got out of my vehicle at work, I picked up my umbrella and, as you might expect, dragged out my computer bag out, too.
Email Edward Pratt, a former newspaperman who writes a weekly Advocate column, at email@example.com.