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1/24/10 So How's My Laptop?

My oldest sister is visiting.

She attends university down in "Springfield", so I rarely see her, but she's back in town right now.

A few months ago, she came over to look at pictures I'd taken of her friend's wedding. (NTS: I should post those.) As we looked through the pictures, she asked, "So, when you leave, can I have your computer?"

I'd goggled a bit. She was just so matter-of-fact about it. But...this is my laptop. This laptop has traveled thousands of miles with me, from when I bought it on the east coast of the US to vacations on the west coast, to my parents' house in the middle of the country, back to the east coast, and now to Morocco. This laptop has been my connection to the outside world. On it, I Skype-talk to my family and friends, I gchat and Facebookchat with loved ones, I download TV and movies, I **BLOG** (as y'all may have noticed)... I've used this laptop, not every day, but most days of the past several years. It's mine in every sense of the word. I've spent thousands of hours on it.

So for her to so cavalierly ask if it could be hers...

I laughed.

She was serious.

I stopped laughing. "No, it's mine."

"Right, but when you leave, it can be mine." I blinked at her. "So many of the other students at school have computers, and I don't. I really need one. So when you leave, why not leave it here?"

Because it's MINE, crazy girl.

"Um, it was a present from my parents in America. I'll have to talk to them." And I suddenly remember that, not very long before, I'd *been* talking to my parents in America - via this very same computer - and Dad had mentioned that, thanks to the rough life it has led here, and the rapid obsolescence of computers, it would probably make sense to get a new one when I go back. He'd sort of implied that he and Mom would give me one, actually, though I'm gift-resistant enough that I didn't plan to take them up on the offer.

But my sister accepts the authority of The Parents...but she also knows just how proud they are of *her*.

See, when my American family came to visit me here in Morocco, over the summer, they were here in Berberville just in time to attend my sister's Congratulations! You Passed Your IB Exam And Officially Graduated High School! party. I conveyed to her their congratulations, and they all - mom, dad, and sister - gave her some congratulatory cash (as is typical here, and entirely appropriate).

So she just nodded, smugly confident that my parents' generosity and respect for her accomplishments would result in her getting the computer.

A few months passed, and I mostly forgot about the conversation. When it did cross my mind, for whatever reason, I remembered laughing about it, and finding the whole thing rather ridiculous.

Turns out she remembered it differently.

Today, after we got past the greetings and were just chatting, she looked up and said, "Hey, how's my laptop doing?" I burst out laughing - genuine bellylaughs. "It's at your house, right?"

"Yeah, the laptop is at my house," I answered. "It's fine."

I quickly changed the subject. A few minutes later, at a lull in the conversation - during which I was chuckling about something else - she said, "You laugh a lot." I smiled, acknowledging the obvious truth of that. (Also, the same word - Ts - is used for laugh and smile - my tutor says, "Because they're really the same, anyway," - so I was still Tsing to confirm that yes, I Ts a lot.)

She continued, "You laughed hard when I asked about my laptop."

With a slightly forced chuckle, I said, "Because it's MY laptop."

"But when you leave, it's mine, right?"

I didn't answer, repeating, with a smile, "It's mine."

"OK, fine, it's ours," she said, pleased with her compromise.

I laughed some more. (Laughter is used here - and not just by me - to lubricate nearly every social interaction. I guess it's a survival technique; if you're going to survive in an isolated valley in the heart of impenetrable mountains, you have to stay on good terms with everybody, and if everything is a joke, that's easier to do.)

About that time, lunch was served, and matters of PC-ownership fell by the wayside, as truly important matters, like who gets the rib - it went to my little sister, who loves to suck out the marrow - came to the fore.

[Oh, and just 'cause it's funny: the word that I have variously translated as computer and laptop is actually pee-see. Sometimes folks use kompyutoar, sometimes the French ordinateur, but my sister was saying PC. I guess some words just don't need to be translated. :) ]

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