Steve Jobs died last week and it made me sad. It’s confusing because I don’t know the man, but his death tugged at my heartstrings in a way that was unique, and I believe it may be because of how his creations have shaped my life. His first computer came out the year that I was born and it is possible that this is what initially connected us, but from that point on Steve Jobs and I have had what can be best described as a lifelong love affair.
Looking back on the beginning of our relationship I remember that I learned to type on the original Macintosh that looks like a concrete block (and is now prominently featured in museums and lofts as pieces of kitschy art, mostly to remind me of how old I am). At first introduction to Apple I marveled at the triangular cursor that I could move by manipulating the old rectangular mouse, and I made sure to regularly clean the device to ensure it worked properly. It was like it innately understood what I wanted to do, and it helped me get there. It was all so new and exciting when I listened
to those first versions of a LaserWriter printer screech out my rudimentary illustrations, and when I first played Oregon Trail… oh I was in a new, heavenly world. When my family upgraded to a Macintosh II it was as though I was seeing the world through new eyes, and my sisters and I spent hours working our way through the trails of the game. Mac always had a way to bond the three of us together over these games and it was as a united Margolis-Pineo team we learned what polio was and how to feed our virtual families, and we often made it all the way to Oregon. (Well, someone usually died along the way.)
Middle school rolled around and so did a required computer class, and thankfully our school had all Macintosh computers so we got to stay together during this awkward time. Learning to type was required for both boys and girls (only made mandatory for boys the year before!), so we used this time to flirt and print out pages of filthy words. The printers worked faster so we could get away with it at this point, and because I was already so comfortable with my old friend I didn’t invest much time into learning during this class. Taking the flirting out of the classroom we’d spend hours at night using our dial-up internet to chat via AIM on our Mac at home. Was my affinity with the adolescent boys, or at the beautiful ease of communication with my Mac? I’ll never be sure.
Then came high school and we both changed so much. I walked the line of nerd-dom, and my old familiar Mac was barely recognizable. The new iMacs sported a bright blue back and pod-like shape, something very new and wild for my book-ish tastes. Unfortunately, the new iMacs were much more popular than I was and there was always a waiting list to use the new space-age computers, so I barely got any time alone with cool, high school Mac. And when my older sister got a new iMac and ran off to college with it, I was insane with jealousy and completely devastated. I thought I knew them so well!
When it was my turn to go to college I worked all summer to buy myself a new iBook – the same one I still use today. Like an old married couple we know each other so well that our time together is seamless and comfortable – it knows all of my deepest, darkest searches. To spice up our romance I introduced an iPhone in to the mix last year, and the three of us have been a happy trio ever since. While it pains me to be without my iBook, I never have to leave the house without my iPhone.
The Apple Company and Steve Jobs have been a part of my life longer than most of my closest friends and having them grow with me has shaped the way I’ve lived my life. Does it all have to come to an end now that Steve Jobs is no longer around to put his visions in to practice? No. I know that while the pioneer of these creations is gone it doesn’t mean that his legacy and our affair is, and I am excited to see where the next chapter of our love story will take us.