Earlier this summer I spent a night at my grandparents' cottage in Michigan, and a few of my teenaged cousins from Florida were there as well. Throw in a couple of aunts, plus my mom and grandparents, and we were probably looking at dozen people spending the night at "the lake."
What was striking to me did not have to do with the reality of cramming all of us in a 3 bedroom cottage. We do that all the time. The cottage has a number of extra spots for sleeping, so we were all set.
What did catch my eye about that evening was the sheer number of computers around the place. Mostly white Mac laptops, plus my work HP laptop. There couldn't have been less than 8 computers in that cottage. Everywhere I looked, there was one plugged into the wall. Otherwise someone was at the kitchen table looking at facebook, or someone else was sitting on the couch playing online Scrabble.
At first, I thought, Come on, folks. Can't you leave your laptops at home when you come to the cottage?
But that, let me assure you, was completely hypocritical. If faced a week at a cottage somewhere where I knew they'd have wireless, I'd probably bring my computer, too.
I don't know when it started, but a while back Josh and I began to take along a laptop when we'd travel. At first I thought it was ridiculous - I mean, couldn't we survive without the internet for a couple of nights? But then it became nice to check email, search for good restaurants, look at a map, etc. from the comfort of our own hotel room in the evenings. Having a computer with us became the norm. We wouldn't be on it all day, every day, when on vacation, but it would definitely be referenced from time to time.
Well, taking one laptop with us slowly but surely stretched to taking two laptops with us. You see, we'd sometimes get cranky with each other for "hogging" the computer at night. Both of us like to unwind sometimes by doing a little internet browsing. Josh likes to read about sports, and I like to check blogs, and they can't really be done at the same time. Solution? Just take two computers.
Is it ridiculous? Maybe. Should we just take one and learn some lessons about self sacrifice and patience? Probably. But for the sake of marital harmony, it is sometimes worth it to just lug two computers around. Especially when we're going somewhere for longer than a night or two. And, granted, sometimes that is a work-related necessity. I travel for work, and Josh sometimes comes with me, but has work of his own to do. So we'll have two along, for legitimate reasons.
At first I thought that maybe we were weird-o's for taking two computers with us when we go places. But then my grandparents spent the night with us a couple of weeks ago, and they each brought a computer with them, too. So maybe it is just the norm.
And now I'm all curious...
Do you travel with a computer? If so, how much do you use it when you're gone?
If you're married or have bigger kids, do you guys end up travelling with more than one computer? Do you feel weird about it?
Is there something to be said for just cutting yourself off from the lures of the internet when you're away from home?
Or do you feel like your left arm is cut off when you're parted from your machine?