The Day the MacBook Air Died

macbook air

There are days in a digital nomad’s life that are very, very good. Like, when you’re cruising through the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve at Grand Teton National Park and you see a monstrous moose with velvety antlers chilling in a pond, chomping on stringy, green algae, and staring at you quizzically in the midst of otherworldly silence. Yes, that is a very good day.

Then, are the days that are not so good. Like, when you’re in the middle of sending an email and your 1-year-old MacBook Air freezes and dies and you find yourself staring at a blinking question mark on your otherwise gray screen. And you are thinking to yourself, “My god, I live on a mountain. In Montana. In a town where you can’t even scan a document much less fix a MacAir.”

And you realize that your Apple warranty ended precisely 2 weeks prior, because you were too damn cheap to spring for AppleCare.

This, I tell you, is a proverbial shit storm of First World problems.

After the initial shock and awe wore off, it dawned on me that perhaps I’m rather cursed in the MacBook Air department — at least as far as travel is concerned. Rewind 3 years, and you’d have found me in India, carousing around the streets of New Delhi, wheeling and dealing with repair shops of dubious quality.

On the bright side, I figured, I was in America this time, and could call the Apple support team with ease, or find an Apple specialist somewhere in the hills of Big Sky Country without climbing through rubble in New Delhi.

And that, my friends, is how I found myself in a makeshift office, in a seemingly empty building, next to the DMV in Bozeman, Montana. It was here that I made acquaintance with a certain Mr. Stevens, who was a lovely, helpful, kind man — with a single flaw.

While he was in the midst of knowledgeably expounding on Mac repair strategies, solid-state drives and the like, I happened to glance down at Mr. Stevens’ hands. He was clutching a tube. Of toothpaste.

And without warning or prompting or even explanation, Mr. Stevens began brushing his teeth. With vigor.

To his credit, the man didn’t miss a beat of conversation. He simply spoke on, scrubbing his pearly whites clean, then disappearing into the abyss of a bathroom to — I presume — rinse.

As this was happening I turned to Ayaz, frantically whispering, “Why? Why is this happening? Why is he doing this?” But to no avail. One may never learn the mysteries of Mr. Stevens wily techniques.

All I can claim with certainty, is that the man fixed my Mac, good as new, in a land void of Apple stores, in less than 24 hours.

See? I didn't make that moose bit up!
See? I didn’t make that moose bit up!


  1. In my mind, you were dodging skites of foaming toothpaste as Mr. Stevens multitasked between assuring you that your Macbook Air would be OK, and polishing his bicuspids.

    • Valerie Conners says:

      I may have been, to be honest, I think I’ve blocked entire stretches of that visit from my mind. Survival skills, and all that….