Good-bye Tungsten, Dear Friend

People thought I was nuts when I bought my second Palm PDA eight years ago. Or if not crazy, a bit fiscally irresponsible at best. It was expensive for its day. My first PDA was definitely a starter Palm, but the Tungsten W was one of the earliest smart-phones (though they hadn’t yet begun to call them smart-phones).

I grew from being infatuated with the thing to pretty much counting on it, to being lost without it. I’ve carried it in a leather case and affectionately refer to it as my leather-bound brain or my personal nagging device (it has permission). I’ve panicked when I’ve left it somewhere. One of the most traumatic was the day my father passed away. Mom had called and said I needed to come home – and hurry. I came off the airplane and scurried to pick up my rental car at the Albuquerque airport, stopping at a Target on the way to the house to replace a couple of items they’d taken from me at the airport (this was post 9-11). Somehow, in my haste, I left it in the shopping cart and didn’t realize I had until several miles down the road when I went to review the travel directions I’d stored there. Oh-no! I went back for it. It was that important. Thankfully, an honest soul had turned it in to the store Customer Service counter. I was relieved, to say the least. And that was but one of several anxiety-producing moments when I lost sight of my trusty PDA.

All the things PDAs are known for, this one does for me – or has until recently. After eight faithful years it’s gone senile. Monday I turned it on to check something and it was convinced it was still the day before Thanksgiving. It quit waking me up with its pleasant little chirp alarm several weeks ago. I can still ask it for information but I have to coddle it to do that. It’s easier to just check the computer — unless I’m away from home or am in the car and my notebook PC is in my briefcase behind the front seat. This PDA has been a trusted companion for eight straight years. Today – (if it was human I’d be tearing up right now) – today when I checked in on it, the display looked up at me then closed its eyes. Looked up again and then went black, almost like it was trying to answer me but didn’t have the energy. I just needed to look up the verse in Ephesians that mentioned “redeeming the time”. We had to shuffle down the corridor to find out.

Sooo, I yielded to the research I’ve been doing and ordered its replacement this morning. Communication technology has come a long way during this Tungsten’s lifetime, and the new one is lighter, faster, and it will bluetooth with my cell phone and notebook. I can imagine it feeling a bit antiquated, despite its faithfulness through the years. How many times has it wakened me in the morning? How many times has it prompted me to stop what I’m doing and leave for an appointment across town? Countless. But it’s unable to do those things anymore. It loses track of time and can barely hold its eyes open when I need something.

So it’s good-bye Tungsten, my dear friend. My you’ve been a great example of faithful service, rain or shine. Keeping track of me and all my information. You’ve even been my Bible in disguise. With two of my favorite versions at my fingertips you’ve been my sword in organizer clothing. Thank you.

What I should do, I suppose, is carefully wrap and place you in a box so my grandkids can someday see how big and bulky personal organizers were at the turn of the century. Seems almost wrong to say it that way, doesn’t it? But it’s true. Several months ago I came across the big seven-ring binder I carried my organizer in just twenty five years ago, and I smiled. The thing was huge. Simply huge, because I carried more than just a calendar in that binder. Lugging that much information around was one of the reasons I needed a PDA. It’s hard to imagine this one seeming cumbersome, but I bet compared to future devices, it will be.

I’m just glad God doesn’t look at me —at us— as expendable. Aren’t you?

Selah —

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