Now, I am no Luddite. After all, I’m typing this on my laptop. But said laptop is showing the decline of more than 3 years of hard use, and I am shopping for a replacement. And I find the process just paralyzing. Here are just a few of the issues:

* What’s up with all these widescreen laptops? Are people doing no work? Is everyone sitting around watching movies on computers? I seem to have missed the announcement.

* And since we’re on the subject, what is it like to work on one of those widescreens? I use my laptop for writing and e-mail and general Internet stuff, not for games or movies (see above). The dimensions of a Dell I’m looking at aren’t that different from those of my old HP, so I’m just not sure what the difference will be.

* Do non-game playing people really need 6o or 80 gb hard drives? I’ve been doing fairly well with just 9.33 gb, 3.05 of which are still free.

* On the other hand, I’m ready to trade up considering that the floppy drive is finicky, the DVD drive doesn’t like the CD-ROM I use most for work and won’t play *any* music CDs, the sound is terrible when I want to listen to music anyway, and the USB port refuses to acknowledge my digital camera.

* The last statement probably suggests that I don’t really have technophobia. So what sort of phobia am I exhibiting? I guess I’m afraid of buying the wrong laptop and hating it. I’m afraid of spending all that money and feeling like an idiot. I’m afraid of buyer’s remorse. I’m afraid I’ll miss my old laptop with the display that goes dark and/or flickery and only improves after you fan the lid up and down a few times and adjust it. just. so.

* I think I have neophobia.

* Omigosh. There really is such a thing. It shortens life expectancy in rats.

* Maybe I should just do what I did the last time: go to Circuit City and buy the one I think is cool-looking.