Various and Sundry Poetry


I'm at the Apple store downtown today with my dad, not expecting traffic, not expecting any congestion whatsoever, just a simple trip to retrieve the generous Hanukah gift on behalf of the ever-supportive-of-my-writing-career parental units...and the store is packed with MacWorld visitors, many of whom are standing in line clutching little green packages. Apparently, it's this new gum-sized mini-mini iPod thing that can hold 250 songs, and Apple just rolled out the new product today. Amazing. It was like a tsunami of consumers, and it made me a little sad, actually, knowing that in a year or less the little green package is going to be replaced by an even smaller tangerine package boasting something even more technologically wacky. And in a way, I thought about how the less money I make (i.e. being a freelancer) the less I'm apt to be in line for the latest gadgetry, simply because I just can't afford to buy in all the time. When I was making more money, I was so much more of a consumer - a Peet's latte twice a day, packaged salads from Briazz, certain Banana Republic items. I didn't care about the sale rack. I didn't care about last season's reduced-priced fashions. I wanted here, I wanted now, I wanted the goods.

Now, with my personal budget cuts and eagle-eyed gaze at the potential minefield of my bank account, I have honed my sale radar considerably. I also don't buy very many things other than groceries, the occasional lipstick, a pair of jeans once in a while from Crossroads, and a 90-day supply of contacts every...90 days. I make my own coffee. I only go to Banana Republic when someone ELSE is shopping for themselves (or a relative has sent a gift certificate). But the thing is, I really was beginning to NEED a new computer. The one I've been using for five years, a classic blue clamshell iBook, is beginning to fray at the seams. It's losing essential battery life because some vital component inside the hardware isn't connecting properly. The blue part of the computer, the decorate band around the perimeter, is threatening to peel off any day now. Apple doesn't sell replacement parts to it anymore, and my warranty's run out anyway. So yeah, it was time.

And standing in line at the Apple store, I came face-to-face with this frantic consumerism - the urge to buy the latest gadget, the devotion to new technology - and realized that it's nearly impossible to escape. The world is moving at this certain speed that makes us feel behind and then compels us to want to catch up. I wanted to get out of that store as soon as possible, even though I wanted even more to take this computer home. And I've got it now, a smaller, lighter, faster version of my old clamshell. I'm hoping it holds up another five years...