Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Fighting Depression with AppleCare

When I first starting writing this blog I used to write in great depth about how the Universe had it in for me. Then I would post my evidence. I have the weirdest luck, and I used to believe that most of it was bad. If there is going to be a hair in anybody's dinner, it will be in mine. If there's a driver smoking, talking on the cellphone, and programming his GPS unit with his feet, he will be in front of me. If there is a puddle of water on the floor and there are three people walking around it, only my socks will sop it up. If the EPA is threatening legal action for toxic waste dumping at $10,000 per violation, I will receive that letter. (Yes, that really happened.)

There is an upside to my luck, however. If there's a hair in my dinner, I'll get a free meal. When driving, I usually pick the best lanes to bypass gridlock. More than that, I get movie posters, freebies, discounts, and special consideration all the time. Things balance out. Eventually, I decided that the bad luck blog entries didn't fit in with the optimistic tone I wanted for this blog so I stopped writing them. Besides, all my luck wasn't bad. That didn't mean that bizarre things stopped happening. I just stopped letting them get me down.

On December 4th, 2007 I had a day that truly tested my mettle. I woke up to find my iBook no longer booted. No amount of coaxing or arcane geek trickery could get that drive to launch to life. She was a goner. Quick research showed that my AppleCare warranty had expired just a scant four days prior. I was prepared for the worst. The old me would have ranted and raved to friends and family. He would have created a crude voodoo doll with a black turtleneck sweater and jeans and done unspeakable things to it.

The new me calmly called my local Apple dealer and asked about my options. They were very expensive. Replacing motherboards usually is. On a whim I set up an appointment with an Apple Genius at the local Apple Store. Then I called my local dealer again (who I had purchased the iBook from) and asked for a list of repairs.

Many of my friends wonder why I bother buying electronic equipment in the first place. It's not as if they work for me. I seem to attract the oddest hardware glitches. This is why I like AppleCare and gladly pay $150+ each time I buy an Apple product. I am probably a very bad investment for Apple, but AppleCare has served me well.

In the three years I owned this iBookG4 I have had the following replaced without cost to me:

  1. battery
  2. keyboard
  3. hard drive (lost all data)
  4. topcase
  5. logic board
  6. keyboard (2nd time)
  7. hard drive (lost all data - 2nd time)

When I explained this to the nice gentleman at the Genius Bar he could see that this was an awful lot of main components to go bad for just one person. If they agreed to fix my iBook, I would end up with a second logic board and third new hard drive. After consulting with his manager, however, he told me that repairing my iBook would not be in Apple's best interests or my own. Instead, would I like a shiny new MacBook?

Inside I felt giggly, but outside I maintained a stiff upper lip and calmly said, "Thank you. That would be nice." I didn't squeal once. I had hoped this would be the outcome, but one can never be sure. Apple employees aren't saints and I could have ended up with Mr. Hardnose behind the counter. I was four days past warranty. My experience with Circuit City and my poor Palm Zire72 was lesson enough that certain businesses have no soul where technicalities are concerned. I did almost lose my cool when they replaced my iBook with a black MacBook, however. That was unexpected. I "upgraded" my three year old, buggy, problematic iBookG4 with a $1499 top of the line MacBook. Merry Christmas to me.

And so I wind down to the end of my tale and warn you that there is a moral to it. If I had become depressed I wouldn't have been able to think of a solution to my problem. Being depressed curtails our options. We spend hours dealing with waves of crashing emotion instead of problem solving. In fact, sometimes we tell ourselves that there is no solution and we're just screwed worse than an incandescent bulb at a Global Warming convention. It took me years of practice, but I have been able to learn how to control it. Depression may be caused by a chemical imbalance in our minds, but I have found that certain events and thoughts can trigger episodes. Therefore:

Change your thinking; change your life.

I wouldn't allow myself to be sad, anxious, or angry until I had seen the day through to the end. I firmly believe this decision helped me score. I could have focused on my woeful track record of hair filled soups and fines from the EPA. It's not as if I didn't have ample justification to collapse in a depressed heap, but then I wouldn't have received such a snazzy present under my Christmas tree from Steve Jobs. The Universe is nice to me, after all.

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