Somewhere behind me, a baby girl was crying a Ganges river.
Her parents, strongly resembling Lucy Liu and Ted Kaczynski, appeared unable to administer the appropriate gag. This was the 9 a.m. American Airlines flight out of JFK, heading for San Francisco. My eyes were as bleary as a bailout document, and my head throbbed from a mixture of lack of sleep and some bad, loud company the night before. Yes, Knicks fans.
Rummaging in my seat pocket, I suddenly discovered that this flight was equipped with Gogo, American Airlines' new Wi-Fi service. Intent on at least googling some institutions that might be happy to adopt loud children, I got out my MacBook.
Logging on to Gogo couldn't be simpler. It costs $12. Yes, it's cheaper than checking your golf clubs. The speed was impressive, even if I could find no trace of the World Decibel-Reducing Adoption Agency. In any case, the minute I got online, the baby girl suddenly entered a deep sleep. Or perhaps I had somehow frightened her into pretending.
However, after about 20 minutes, something odd occurred. Just as I was about to check Hotmail, the laptop screen went dark.
Please let me explain at this point that my heart is not technical. I represent the proles (and the Poles) who, when it comes to gadgets, just try to get by any way they know how. So try not to get mad, OK? But my MacBook was clearly dead. No lights, no sound, no picture.
Given its lack of life, I put it away, thinking that I would ask someone with a brain appropriately wired to solve the problem in the Bay Area.
When I got home, I opened the MacBook again. It began to stir, and I stepped back, thinking that some nefarious beings might have tampered with it.
The screen came to life again, and it busily resumed its attempt to load the Hotmail page I had been trying to access on the plane five hours previously. But, you see, I hadn't turned the MacBook on. I'd merely opened it.
Is it possible that it was the Gogo that had put a stopstop to my MacBook? Might the signal have suddenly bemused my configuration to a coma? Or should I take my MacBook to the nearest Genius Bar, where a 14-year-old will tell me I should not, under any circumstances, put money down for cryogenics?