I’m writing this at the kitchen table on Khaos, my Apple MacBook Air. One set of workmen just left. They finally found the cracked and leaking six-inch section of gas pipe. This was their third attempt. Each previous time ended with supposed success — it was always This Time For Sure.
Chaos Manor has been sufficiently chaotic for the month. With luck it will all be over by Saturday.
In the meantime, one of us has to be downstairs while there are workmen in the house. That’s why I am working at the kitchen table here with my wonderful MacBook Air, which I’ve named Khaos after the Greek Goddess of Air. In case you were wondering.
I’d forgotten how nice the Air is for working. My normal work position involves a Henry Miller chair, keyboard at precisely the height I want and big monitor screens. I don’t have any of that at the kitchen table. But this is working out pretty well, unlike the situation here with the gas leak.
That’s why there’s been so much chaos at Chaos Manor lately. All would be well for a couple of hours and then we would smell gas. The first time was at 10 PM. The gas company technician, a very pleasant man who turned out to have kids who read science fiction, explained how to turn off the section where the leak was so the water heaters would still work. I gave him a copy of one of my books, Starswarm.
He couldn’t crawl under the house, he said, because he wasn’t allowed to do so without a partner and it was too late for that. Yesterday the contractors came out twice. Each time they thought they found it, but last night once again there was that smell of gas. This time they actually found a pipe with an actual crack in it, and replaced it. They’ve been gone for an hour, all the relevant valves are open, there’s heat in Roberta’s bathroom which was the whole point of the operation, and there is no smell of gas in the hallway. I believe we can at last rejoice. The moral of the story is that Roberta’s persistence in finding a reliable firm to do the work of fixing her bathroom heater has paid off in spades and big casino.
Now she’s out taking Sable for a walk, and I’m sitting at the kitchen table while the plasterer fixes our ornate dining room cornice, which was damaged by leaks from my upstairs bathroom, which had to be repaired and, well, you get the idea.
As for Khaos the MacBook Air, as I said, I’d forgotten how much I love it. It did take a bit of getting used to. First I set Khaos far enough back on the table so I could rest my arms on the table with my fingers properly on the keyboard. This felt strange at first, but after a few minutes it turned out to be natural.
Of course, the MacBook Air saved my sanity back when I was getting my brain burned out – 50,000 rads of high energy X-rays to eliminate the inoperable lump in my head. I was in the Kaiser Sunset radiology facility waiting room every day. I was able to work there and that’s about the only thing that kept me sane. Clearly the treatment worked since I am still here and they can’t find any traces of cancer left.
As for my situation now, definitely Khaos is a remarkably useful device. I don’t think it’s quite enough computer to be one’s only system, though. My main machine remains Bette, a quadcore Windows 7 machine with a 23-inch screen.
If I am going somewhere for days and I need a system to set up in the hotel room and leave it in place, I tend to carry an IBM ThinkPad. But for just knocking about writing wherever I happen to be, cruising the Internet as I need to, and just generally having a computer to use, the Air is wonderful. It is lightweight, gorgeous to look at, has great battery life — perfect to carry in a small briefcase or messenger bag.
And now, suddenly, all is well. The gas lines are fixed, the plasterer is done, Roberta is back from her walk, and I can go back up to the office. But I enjoyed resuming my affair with Khaos. She really is gorgeous. For some of my early impressions of the MacBook Air, see my column here.