It's been 10 months since I severed the patellar tendons in both my knees in two separate falls on the same day. I was sent away from Georgia Medical Center after the first fall. Nobody there physically examined my knee, which I'd wrapped in an Ace bandage.
In five hours, all they did was take an X-ray. The nurse informed me that I'd sprained my knee, handed me a Motrin prescription and said I'd be fine.
I said, "Nobody's actually looked at my knee. It is completely out of position."
She got testy, told me that if I wasn't satisfied, she could ask the doctor to talk to me but that it might take quite awhile and, after all, he'd reviewed the X-ray and he was, after all, an expert. Translation: Get the hell out of here.
I left. Wayne, my partner, drove me to Lenox Square to pick up my month-old Apple PowerBook that I'd left at the store a few days earlier for a minor repair. I found that I could walk as long as I kept my "sprained" knee locked. However, as I came out of the store with my laptop in my hands, the injured knee buckled, I fell onto my good knee, back onto the injured one and then bounced onto my back.
But here's the worst part: I threw my 17-inch laptop into the air and watched it crash to the floor. My first act, after screaming with pain, was to reach over and turn on the PowerBook. It worked perfectly -- and has continued to do so. The computer has some kind of device that locks everything if a sudden jolt occurs. Even the titanium case was undamaged.
Now, if you have the underprivileged misfortune of owning a PC laptop, you know how ludicrous the idea is of its surviving such an event. Although I'd already become fond of my PowerBook, I fell deeply in love with it that day, watching it whir away undamaged while I lay writhing.
"If only my knees were made by Apple," I said to Wayne.
It took me years to make the transition to an Apple. Every time I needed a new laptop, I came across a Windows-operated unit at half the price of an Apple. The turning point came for me when my Toshiba, despite every barrier you can erect, twice got infected with viruses that required wiping the machine clean.
Then, just more than a year old, the machine's hard drive stopped working, the modem went dead and the disc drive failed. The repairs were going to cost more than half the price of a new one. Like Scarlett holding the turnip above her head, I vowed never to own another Windows-operated machine.
Like everyone else who has made the transition, I have been a happy typer. I bought my PowerBook before the new Intel-operated machines came out. Those will run Windows as well as the Mac software, but I don't care. There is only one program -- the very expensive Oxford English Dictionary -- that I can't run on Mac's operating system. But I don't get viruses or spyware and I don't have continual crashes like I had on every Windows unit I've owned.
And then there's the service. No more screaming "What?" at people in New Delhi. The service at the Lenox Square store is so ... so customer-oriented that a friend who made the change recently wrote Steve Jobs a gushing letter and asked me if I thought it would be OK if he bought all the sales people Starbucks gift cards. I thought he was going to burst into tears because he was treated so much like a human being.
Besides the reliability of the machines and the excellent service, Apple features design that is absurdly sleek and sensual. I avoid going into the Lenox store because I see so much I want but don't need. I bought a useless and pricey black case just because I loved the beautiful green interior.
There is a kind of competitive camaraderie among Apple users at the Ansley Starbucks, where I do a lot of my writing. When I first whipped out my 17-inch PowerBook, people gasped. But soon enough, converted friends were asking questions such as, "Oh, that doesn't have the Intel chip, does it? Pity." Or: "Do you have a camera built in? Pity." (The last thing I want in my computer is a damn camera.)
It's not usual for me to compliment a corporation, but Apple is truly an exception in a culture of shoddy products and nonexistent service. I hope Bill Gates never darkens my doorway again.
Cliff Bostock holds a Ph.D. in depth psychology.
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