It was like a toy store.

Whenever I felt down and out, I could go there and look at all the cool stuff. The latest gadgets. I could buy a USB 8GB flash drive and I’d feel better. I’d look at the computers lined up there on the tables and think how wonderful it would be to get the latest model.

Even looking at pens made me happy. Kinda sad to think about it now. But that was life.

In 2009, that changed.

After having gone through Windows 3, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Vista I couldn’t take living in Microsoft world any more. Windows 7 was coming out, and having to learn the ins and outs of yet another defective operating system was getting old.

Buying inadequate virus protection subscriptions at $35 a year was getting old.

Nursing along black boxes and briefcases that lasted two years before buying the next one and going through all the transferring files was getting old.

Spending more time waiting for almost daily automatic updates, multiple restarts and other troubleshooting was getting old.

I was good at it. I had encountered and could fix just about any Windows malfunction you could throw at me. But it was getting old. I went through a couple weeks of a pretty deep depression.

Then I bought a Mac. Actually, I bought two of them. One for me, one for Brooke.

I’m writing this from the same 2009 Mac.

Last year, some work came up and I had to have Windows. I bought a copy of the new Windows 8, and installed it on Parallels, so when I have to I can run Windows on my Mac. I relive those transitional weeks of depression every time I have to fire up Windows. Windows 8 is probably the most depressing version yet. All those flat square boxes and none of them really work.

Leaving Microsoft world is what changed my relationship with Staples.

I realized something major had shifted when I went back to Staples one afternoon a few months after I got the Mac. I thought it would be a happy experience. I was looking at all those laptops lined up there with their shiny new Windows 7 screens. They weren’t making me happy any more. Now, they made me sad.

How sad, I thought, that all these shiny new machines would be cripplingly obsolete in three months.

As I was looking at them one of the EasyTech guys offered me a deal on getting my computer re-optimized.

“What does that do?” I asked.

“We go through your Windows registry and clean out all the junk that builds up in there,” he said. I nodded. “We scan for viruses and other malware that your anti-virus software might have missed.”

“Great,” I said. “Do you do Macs?”

He looked at me like I was from another planet. Of course, I am from another planet now.

“No,” he said.

“That’s all right,” I said. “I used to spend lots of time hacking Windows registries.”

Purple Uniball Signo BLXI still go to Staples. I went today to get a replacement printer cartridge. I still look around. But it doesn’t make me happy the way it used to.

Once in a while they have a new pen to try out. But since I came across the Uniball Signo 207 Purple BLX, other pens just don’t seem to matter any more either.

Now, when I’m feeling down and out, I have much better luck sitting on the back deck watching the river go by.

You can’t get that in any store.

Not even Staples.