Second Mac

Saturday, 20 February, 2010

One night I came upstairs to the kitchen. On the counter was a box that said it contained a toner cartridge – a toner cartridge for a laser printer. We didn’t have a laser printer; we had an Apple Image Writer II which is a dot-matrix printer that takes ribbons. It was very late at night so I didn’t want to wake up my dad just to bug him about a new computer for the millionth time. Reconnaissance was the only option.

I went into my dad’s office – just to look, I wasn’t going to touch anything! There was the six-year-old Macintosh Plus with the aforementioned Image Writer. No new boxes in the office. I had to go through my parent’s room to get to the attic, so if anything was hidden up there it would stay that way at least until my parents were awake. If there was anything that I could see it would be in the car.

I padded out into the garage, my bare feet slapping on the cold concrete. I threaded my way around the van to get to my dad’s car. (His car was a pearl-white 1990 Nissan Maxima.) Through the rear, driver’s side window I could see some… Boxes!

I got up so I was almost touching the car. The box said it contained a refurbished laser printer. But it was on top of another box that I couldn’t see. I squeezed around, between the trunk and the garage door. Then I squeezed between the rear quarter panel and the snow blower. Then I squeezed between the rear door and the shelf-load of junk and parts on the far wall of the garage. All I could see was the blank bottom of the box. (It was laying on its side.)

I was almost 16 years old, so I knew how to work the keys to a car. I further knew that they were hanging innocently on a hook in the kitchen. Nobody would have to know that I had opened the car. The hardest part would be closing the car door.

I went back into the kitchen and grabbed the keys. I put the key in the driver’s door, unlocked it, and carefully opened it. There was the button for the power locks. It would be less than a minute before I saw what that lower box claimed was inside.

I opened the rear driver-side door and beheld it. That was it. It was there. It was (Dare I say it?) the top of the line. The box said it contained a

Macintosh Quadra 840AV

The next morning I asked my dad – trying my best to be nonchalant – “so, what’s this toner cartridge?”

He said, “oh – I got us a laser printer.”

“A laser printer? Why?”

“Well, we needed something to print to.”

“Print to with what?”

“Go look in the car.”

I’m glad I was playing dumb, because it was almost as exciting the second time to see that box sitting there in the back seat of that Nissan.