Marcus is on mute. Well not totally but he’s definitely not going to make any sound without assistance from now on. Marcus is my Macbook Pro. Yes, I named him. I figured, if I’m going to have an intimate relationship with an inanimate object, I better give it a name. No. I’m just making an excuse. I randomly name anything like my six plants: Collins, Cymbeline, Dundee, Wrigley, Quincy, and Sedgewick. I even had a name for the wind when I as twelve. My teachers probably thought something was not right about me. Ha! Surprise! Nothing is right about me.

Last Thursday Marcus just stopped producing sound with his built-in speakers. For some reason he believes that he’s connected by wire to our living room speakers. This one caught the clingy bug badly. I spent the entire night talking him out of it. Everybody needs to move on. He didn’t listen. I googled for a solution and resorted to some invasive procedures involving a q-tip and his audio port. By midnight I gave up and decided that I would bring him to the mac doctor the following day. Mac doctor. Ha! Even I, hate myself for this.

Marcus is generally cooperative but he has his quirks. The first time I had to bring him to the service centre, he had booting issues. It happened just a couple of weeks after his warranty ended. He probably needed reassurance that I care for him. I had to pay.

The loss of his capability to play sound with his built-in speakers is not a big problem, I told my workmates. I could use external speakers and headphones just fine. I almost never use the default speakers. We were about to start an online meeting when my colleague encountered a technical issue with her own laptop. She asked me if I could host the meeting through Marcus instead. Great. I just said I can do without Marcus’ speakers. We ended up still using her laptop.

The line was surprisingly short when I came to the service centre. I explained everything to the “technician”. Marcus can still play sound when booting which is a sign that the internal hardware is okay. He was reformatted just three months ago and is certainly being treated well. As advised by another technician, I also didn’t do any major OS upgrade.

This technician didn’t listen. He didn’t even pay attention to the red light in the audio port that I was pointing to. He was too busy trying to figure out how to boot in safe mode. He would press the power button, then some keys. He would fail. He would ask me to key in my password and then he would shut Marcus down again. He did this about three times. I was about to point him the icon he could click on to shut down the computer without me typing in my password. Finally, he succeeded. And then he told me that if sound won’t play in safe mode, I might have to leave Marcus for reformatting. My brain did three backflips while I stared at him blankly. By default, audio is not enabled in safe mode.

He advised me to leave Marcus with them for further investigation. But he mentioned that Marcus will likely be reformatted. I told him that the software is observably okay. He agreed. I wanted to ask, why reformat then? But I had to be polite. I told him then that I doubt that reformatting will guarantee a fix. He nodded in affirmation. I almost heard crickets.

I told him that I would back up my files and come back when I’m ready to have Marcus reformatted. I don’t think I will come back any time soon. Marcus and I are fine for now. -aB


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