Friday, January 16, 2009

Overpowered

Is there a name for the phenomenon in which you do just fine for a long period of time without a certain not-entirely-necessary Gizmo Thing but then you order it and in the time it takes between the ordering and the arrival of the Gizmo Thing you have 57 different experiences that make you realize how inadequate and/or difficult your life is without this thing? The wait of 1-5 days for the new gizmo thing to arrive becomes unbearably long. You are incapacitated until it arrives. How did you live without it?

A relative chronology to illustrate this phenomenon:

1 - I carry my laptop power cord with me everywhere in case I need to plug my laptop in at the office, at home, on a trip, in a cafe etc.

2 - I forget the power cord more often with time. It is in my office but I am at home, or vice versa.

3 - My spouse has the same problem. At this point, we have two power cords between us, but sometimes we are both at home and we have no power cord. We also both have extra batteries, but those aren't necessarily where we want them and/or fully charged either.

4 - We get a home power cord and leave our other power cords in our respective offices except when traveling or at a cafe and except for the time when my husband took both the home and his office power cord on a trip with him by mistake and he absolutely refused to FedEx the extra one back to me even though he was away for nearly a week.

5 - The home power cord is constantly being moved -- upstairs, downstairs, by the couch, by the kitchen counter, and not by me. I never know where it will be.

6 - We order a second home power cord. In theory, one will always be near the Work Couch, which is where the cats insist that we sit when we are using our laptops. The other power cord can move around, maybe. I am sitting on the Work Couch now but I just had to go on a house search for the first home power cord because the second one has not yet arrived. Life will be much better when we have two power cords. I hope the new one arrives soon.

Where will it all end? I don't know the name for this phenomenon, but it may involve keywords such as impatient disorganized money-wasting American consumer slave.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

I now own 4 mobile phone chargers, which is enough until I travel anywhere!

Niket said...

"impatient disorganized money-wasting American consumer slave."
I think just American is enough; everything else is included. :-)

And American does not just mean residents and citizens, it also means those like me who spent a few years in grad school. "American" is contagious.

Short Geologist said...

Hey, I have multiple cords for my cell phone as well. Office, travel bag, home - same thing with advil (migraines), feminine products, pens, notebooks...you gotta be prepared.

friday afternoon writer said...

I have to confess I have 3 power cords. One for the company office, one for the university office and one for at home (which comes along when I travel). They tend to make life much, much easier.

Anonymous said...

We too don't have enough power cords at home but its normally mine at home rather than my MSP husband's. He thinks its a waste of money to own 2 home cords, even though he has plenty of grant money designated for computers and it would take a few minutes with his p-card to order one. It raises some interesting questions in the evenings about whose research is more important...and I don't always win.

Anonymous said...

FSP, I have _three_ power cords for my own private use. Getting them changed my life.

Lorie said...

I do this too. I have one power cord at the office, one at home, and one "floater" to carry around, since it is a hassle to have to move the one that is neatly tucked behind my desk. You two are lucky you have the same model laptop, otherwise you wouldn't even be able to share the one by the couch!

franglais said...

Until very recently, I had just 1 power cord for my laptop and this worked great because my laptop went wherever its cord went ALL THE TIME. I recently decided to leave one cord in my office and purchased one for home. I feel I am catching whatever bug it is you are suffering from, and I am sure something bad will happen soon, when I'll fly overseas and forget to pack a cord.

I am amazed that laptops do not come with a retractable cord, like a vacuum cleaner. Surely, there must be a technological cure for this desease.

female Science Professor said...

It sounds to me like you need a few more power cords: one to keep in your backpack or briefcase at all time, one for your car, and perhaps a spare one for home and/or office.

Jennie said...

I feel like I've seen a retractable cord for an apple laptop before, but maybe that was in my dreams.
I don't seem to have the laptop cord syndrome but do have the cell phone charger syndrome. And now I have a second cell phone which is for work and that only has one charger :(

Patricia in TO said...

What you need is:
http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/wireless-power1.htm
I thought this stuff was already around but it seems not to be yet.

Alethea said...

Well, you could name the affliction after me, who just ordered a webcam (I've the only recent laptop that doesn't have one in the lid) because a collaborator insisted that Skype would be useful for teleconferencing among the partners on our grant, and I tried to get it shipped express, only to not have it arrive before the end of the week. And I'll be on the road all next week, and could have used it to "call" home to the family... but I've lived a good number of years without one, and will survive.

American-ness sticks with you, even out of the country.

lusenok said...

We own 4 power cords for PDAs.
That's just enough until we start to travel.

I'm lucky to have a cell phone with miniUSB charger.

Comrade PhysioProf said...

I don't understand this at all. When I bring my laptop anywhere, it is in its laptop bag. There is a compartment in the laptop bag for the power cord/adaptor. When I unplug the laptop to put it in the laptop bag, I put the power cord/adaptor in the compartment. The laptop and its power cord are always together.

female Science Professor said...

But that's because you are organized and not forgetful. I kept forgetting to unplug the powercord in my office and bring it home with my laptop. The laptop isn't always plugged in, so it's not always with its powercord. My acquisition of large numbers of powercords is (in part) a symptom of my absent-mindedness.

jb said...

How about this: the "you only order something when you need it" phenomenon.

Silver Fox said...

I have one power cord for my computer; husband has one for his. In this case it's fortunate that we don't have the same kind of computer - no possibility of using the other power cord. And I rarely use the thing without plugging it in, so am pretty aware of the cord. I'm not sure what the trade-offs are on electricity v. charging batteries. And batteries wear out (I know from previous experience!).

I *do* have scissors and trash cans in all imaginable spots so I don't have to walk everywhere all over the house to find one. That always includes one "hidden" pair of scissors - otherwise they all disappear when I am not around!

Karina said...

I have two adapters for my MacBook- one at home and one at my office. If I have to use my computer for more than 2 hours somewhere else, I bring the cord from whichever place I departed from (i.e. if I'm leaving from my office to work at the museum, I bring that one. If I'm going to DC for the inauguration, I bring the one from home). In general though I try not to bring an adapter everywhere if I know I'm plugging in later. Seriously people, that's why I have a laptop. I exercise my battery power.

What complicates things is that my partner has an older ibook, so our power cords are partially compatible. We can use the same "tail" or "2-prong" but use separate adapters. I do find it very helpful to have extra "tails" around.

Quercki M. Singer said...

I believe you can purchase a lock which prevents a cord from being unplugged. You might try one for the couch power cord.

Terminal Degree said...

I had three for my last laptop and I still forgot them.

Of course none of them works with my new laptop.

We have four sets of earbuds for iPod products. Currently we can find ONE set.

Hope-to-get-married-someday female prof said...

Your husband would not FedEx it back to you? Please help me understand. Please tell me you are not married to a selfish jerky self-entitled individual. The world is too unfair already.