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Dead Weight

February 20, 2012

Last weekend, I had a cross-country flight with a layover in Dallas. Wanting to make the most of my time, I tucked in my laptop to use in the airports. I had just arrived at my departure gate at SEATAC. I pulled out my computer, plugged it in, and hit the power button. Knowing boot up takes a little time, I didn’t pay much attention to what was happening. After more time that seemed usual had lapsed, I studied the screen. It appeared to have a hint of a glow, but no image. I pushed all the keys that might trigger some action. No luck. So I did the universal action. Turn off and try again. After several cycles, I realized, my computer was not going to wake up this day.

I thought to myself, what luck, I get to carry a nonfunctioning computer about 5,000 miles and get absolutely no productivity!  Then I began to wonder what I might lose in files that weren’t backed up. I hoped nothing too important, but how would I ever know? I tried to think of what might have caused the failure or how to get around the boot up problem.

I didn’t lose a lot of sleep or waste too much mental energy, but everywhere I went, I was carrying around dead weight, literally. Everyone else’s working laptop reminded me that mine was not. I honestly thought about ditching it somewhere. Why bother to carry this beast when there is no hope it will work? Every curb was taller. Every overhead bin was higher. Every move was a reminder of my pointless exertion.

Environmentally, I couldn’t bring myself to dump my old laptop in an airport trash can. I thought it would not be a popular move with the TSA. I also had a fleeting hope that one of my technology connections might be able to do CPR (computer program recovery) and restore some function to the machine. So, I packed it, carried it, and resented it for 5,000 miles.

I got to thinking, “What else am I carrying around that is not working?” If I carry a grudge, it consumes my energy, but the person I despise is likely oblivious of my feelings. If I carry regret, it only leaves me in the past and offers no hope for the future. If I carry secrets, I have to work overtime to keep them sealed and waste energy worrying about them getting out.

When we dump the negative stuff out of our lives, we not only free up our minds, we clean up the environment. I’ll try to reboot my computer, but I want to boot the other garbage out of my life for good.

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