@loripalminteriTweets by @loripalminteri
A Girl And Her Droid
I hadn’t realized we had been together almost nine years. This is almost as long as I’ve been doing comedy. We were together even longer than my first vehicle (oh, Bessy Lou! How I miss you too!). I didn’t realize that the former blog would be the last blog I’d write on that machine. Though the warning signs of the end had been haunting me.
“This mac book is in excellent condition,” the genius bar worker commented as he examined you. “I know,” I said, “I take good care of my shit.” Nine years for a computer is a long time. Our departure hurts me more than almost all the break ups in my life. Though none of my lovers came even close to lasting 9 years, nor do most of any of the people in my life know more about me than the writings saved on your software.
We did so much together. I completed my first novel on you. Wrote multiple screenplays, both on my own and collaborative projects with Nick Griffin. You were my travel buddy to Los Angeles, keeper of a hopeful future and a living dream—selling a screenplay. My sword and shield. Mostly for the written word, but also video editing and graphic design. I loved you then as I love you now. I trusted you. Even the time I name called. You were my best friend.
Yes, your time is up. And a replacement is in order. There’s no funds left in my savings, so I’ve done something I’ve never done before—open a new credit card specifically for the new computer. I guess you’re not a true American until you submit to credit card debt. Well, here I am now. Here I am ball and chained to credit cards. Here I am dooming my future.
My laptop isn’t the only droid I’ve had human feelings for. The other would be my car. Especially my first car: an ol’ 2001 Silver Nissan Altima that I purchased in 2007, the year I graduated high school. I’d been working since I was fourteen and bought the car with (almost all my) cash, years of hard work in shitty low paying jobs. Besides a couple of cigarette burns in the drivers seat, the car was near pristine, and when I bought it my Mom (with her grandiose OCD) did a deep detailing that make Bessy Lou sparkle.
There’s nothing like first loves, I suppose. Bessy Lou was more than wheels, an engine and speakers that I had to replace the first week I bought her because I blew them out playing music too loud (haha), she was my partner in freedom.
When I first started driving, I was timid if not terrified. This is largely my Dad’s fault. He repeated on the regular that a car was more of a weapon than a vehicle that could kill you. When newspapers covered stories of car wrecks (especially those of young drivers), he’d clip out the story and “leave it” on the kitchen table or the countertop where my siblings and I would come across it.
It was really comedy that helped me grow into a confident driver. I’d start comedy at the age of twenty, and quickly found myself addicted. Gigs took me places I’d normally be uncomfortable to drive to, but gravity of stand-up pulled me out of my comfort zone on many levels. Bessy Lou would take me to hundreds, eventually thousands of gigs.
I loved that car until the day I traded her in for a “cash for clunkers” deal when I bought my new (and current) vehicle back in 2014. I was more sad about losing Bessy Lou than getting a brand new car. I even excused myself for a moment at the dealership to go in my car and pretend to clear out final items, just to hug her steering wheel. I held back tears and thanked her. She was a literal vehicle into a coming of age. My steed around the country. Where I had lunches, just the two of us, during my college years and during work hours. I lost my virginity in that car. We drove back and forth to beaches, getting filled with sand every summer and smelling like melted surf wax. She saved my life. I should have died in that car. I loved her. And while her time had come, she was so important to me, it felt like a great loss.
The 2014, also silver, Hyundai Accent replaced Bessy. I refer to this vehicle as “the space ship.” In the beginning, while only my second car and first brand new vehicle, and way nicer than ol’ Bessy, I was rather detached. It was just a car. I didn’t look at the Space Ship the way Luke looked at R2D2, just as I lovingly gazed upon my ol’ Bessy. Additionally, the guy who set up my paper work for financing the Space Ship did a sneaky move and slipped in expenses that were supposed to be waived. Where I should have been excited, I was grieving my first car and my bank account and stupidly did not double check the paper work. This would turn into an ongoing fight with Hyundai to get them to honor their word (this is the dealership in West Islip, NY, that I would never recommend to anyone). It even surprised my Dad to see his most often mild mannered daughter get in a manager’s face and start yelling at them for being weasels. I had lost my temper. And I especially don’t like when people go back on their word and try to trick you and take advantage. Shame on you.
Shortly after I purchased Space Ship, I’d slam into a pothole on the Northern State late one night heading home from a gig and I blew out a tire. Upon getting to the side of the road, I learned my car didn’t come with a donut. In fact, no new cars come with donuts. Again, I was furious with the dealership. Why didn’t they bring this up? Without question, I would have bought the donut. This was the day after a bad snow storm and I waited over 3 hours for a tow truck.
But Space Ship and I have gone through a lot together. Like Bessy, she’s been a home for me to cry in and have panic attacks, a stage for me to sing music at the top of my lungs, my companion to a thousand gigs all over, a trusted steed to the shores and mountains. We are good friends now.
Back in February, in what I thought would be the worst part of the 2020 (hahahahahahaha), a man struck my vehicle going onto the Northern Parkway. Space Ship was near totaled. I feared that would be the end there. But Space Ship was repaired, and looked dashing. It would be my neck that would suffer damage that is not fixable, in the end.
It’s been a long time since I’ve had a new laptop. A new droid. A new machine that is the medium for my art. Where I should hopefully be more motivated to churn out more material, since the new machine will lack the problems of old age. Computers and humans both start glitching after a long existence. The computer’s inner parts will be recycled, just like Bessy Lou, and will in some ways live on. Without me. Without any memory of the words I’d save there.
On my driver’s license, there’s a little heart icon that symbolizes I’m an organ donor. My Dad was also unhappy I did this because he thought it would increase the chances of someone kidnapping me to harvest my organs. I love my Dad, he is the best and I couldn’t imagine a better or more fun father for our family, but he did pass on some very paranoid fears. One day, when I’m gone, hopefully my organs will help someone else live. And wherever the mind goes, that that energy will be recycled too. And we’ll live on as something else entirely. Our software and hardware separated and our actual selves no longer existing.
You were special because you were my droid. You made my life not only easier but better. People most often disappoint you, but you hardly disappointed me. And now it’s time to keep going. To write new stories on a new droid. To start a different bond with another non-living thing.