Monday, September 06, 2010

I buy my first Mac and narrowly escape a fumbled attack by born-again Christian terrorists.

I've been researching used Macs on Craigslist for a month now and I finally got one on Saturday. I exchanged texts with the owner throughout the day to plan and get directions and when we finally met he was a very nice, slightly nervous, newly-graduated-from-high-school teenager. He was tall and had a fastidiously shaved head, discrete sparkly earrings, a silver chain of some kind and very white teeth. Maybe an Addidas zipup jacket, don't remember. His friend had one of those baseball hats with a stiff, straight brim which he wore slightly to the side. Both of them stood and smiled and shook my hand when I introduced myself. The owner explained that he'd be starting at one of the local community colleges. He was selling this MacBook because he wanted to upgrade, partly for school and partly for gaming. He'll be getting a Pro which has a faster processor. Both of them gave off a very harmless vibe that wouldn't allow me to even think of hard-negotiating them which I sensed I could've done.

Beth came with me and after I exchanged money and computer she and I walked out to the car. Written in some kind of grease paint on the window of the black car parked next to mine it said, "Too bad you don't know where I live you dumb fuck." I puzzled over it and moved on, but Beth suggested maybe the kid had written it thinking it was my car, which is also black, albeit a way different make and model. This got me started with the paranoia. Was the MacBook broken? I'd sat there with him in the coffee shop where we met while he booted it up, deleted some of the files he wouldn't be needing, got rid of his profile and set me up with one. I tried out an audio and data CD successfully. It didn't seem possible he'd have the skill to rig up some kind of delay so it would break on me after I got it home; it took Microsoft decades to perfect that. I had made a joke when he was deleting his files, asking him if they were stolen CIA files and would people in black SUVs start coming after me once he left the MacBook in my hands.

When we got home Beth told me she had blogged so I decided to read it on my new MacBook, not even bothering to hide my excitement (several times on the ride home and later I said "I have a new computer!"), at last having a laptop that would boot up right away and even after you've closed the lid snap out of hibernation and take you wherever you need to go. She was sitting next to me on the couch. I typed "" and the browser opened on a painting of Babylon or something, people in robes pulling around donkeys huddled under the threat of locusts, the title of the page reading "Mega site of Bible studies and information."

I laughed and typed the address again. Same thing. And again. Puzzled and a little anxious I turned to Beth. "Let me see," she said and I handed her the laptop (it's so light). Usually when she says that whatever it is I can't do ends up being right when she does. But not this time. She did it one more time and it worked. She pointed out we'd been reversing two of the letters without realizing it.

I've gone back into the history and seen I actually mistyped the address to Beth's blog three different ways, and each one took us to the Mega site of Bible studies and information. I guess the former owner installed some kind of a Christian hijacking virus but, since he hasn't gone to college yet, it's kind of an amateurish one. Or maybe the people at Mega site for Bible studies and information are smart, manipulative internet marketers who bought three different misspelled domains like those guys who register "" If so it is very odd they'd choose a URL so similar to Beth's, and using Blogger. I still don't have any theories about who the dumb fuck was. That was just weird.

I'm writing this on the Mac now. The keys make that soft comforting clicking sound exactly like Beth's, because it's the same model, I'd sought it out specifically. It does start up right away unlike my HP laptop and is totally white making it about as un-PC-looking as you can get, with its softly glowing backlit apple icon, looking more like a computer terminal in one of the ships from 2001. So far all the web sites I've gone to have been the ones I intended to go to. The hijacking and potentially even the dumb fuck thing were all part of a benign plot to jolt me out of my misperceptions about Christian terrorists, who really are very nice guys.

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