The Apple Store


So I’m off to China and Mexico this week on business. I will be gone for 8 days and spend 37 hours in the air during that time. There are three things I’d rather do than spend 37 hours in an airplane over a week: (1) get dragged naked through a field of broken glass; (2) dip my testicles into a bowl of piranha; or (3) go into anaphylactic shock.

In anticipation of the boredom, claustrophobia and inevitable clashes I’m going to have with crying babies and the guy who will slobber on my arm rest, I needed to find something to do on the plane other than battle the stewardess for the last can of Pringles. I could bring 7 books in a steamer trunk or give up a mortgage payment to purchase wifi while on the flight. Or I could take a deep breath and learn how the hell to use the Ipad 2 I bought six months ago. It’s been very helpful as a door stop to date but that’s probably not the highest and best use for the thingamajig.

I resolved to sit there with the indecipherable tablet as long as it took. I spent an afternoon pressing the one button on the Ipad over and over again, assuming eventually something had to happen. I got tired, though, and put it in storage. However, my wife retrieved it from the trash compactor while I retired to the den to play Pong. After I calmed down, I tried one more time to turn it on but the Satanic screen did nothing more than laugh and spit in my face. Who knew that Steve Jobs’s genius was so vast that he could give a mobile device salivary glands?

Failing to make any headway on my own, I decided to go to a Mac store near my office. I thought I’d run in there during lunch, grab a couple of accessories, pick up a few instruction manuals and be on my way. I thought I could do this in an hour. I also thought that I could write a sequel to War and Peace on my way back to the office and possibly build a third story onto my house before I went to bed.

The Mac store is located in a sleepy mall near the beach. The traffic is pretty slow, nothing more than a few old people shopping for bloomers at Macy’s and a bunch of surf rats looking for board shorts. Then, there’s the Apple Store. While crickets chirp in every other section of the mall, there is a continuous riot enveloping the Apple Store or Geekstock, as it should be known. By the frenzied crowd, you would think they’d found the Ark of the Covenant, or maybe free porn. Los Angeles was quieter in the three days after the Rodney King officers were acquitted.

The Mac-olytes had set up a velvet rope outside the store and the queue reached back to the empty Gap store at the other end of the mall. They were asking us to pull numbers and I had to beat my way past the scalpers to reach the machine. I walked to the back of the line where the Apple employees had thoughtfully provided coffee and donuts as well as a telescope for us to see the specials being advertised in the store window.

After about a half hour, I had moved 10 feet. People were walking out of the store crying tears of joy after securing an adapter or wireless keyboard or whatever else they were buying. As I dug into the third chapter of a novel I was reading, some woman with a broken MacBook walked up and offered to give me oral sex if she could have my place in line. Even the concept of a free orgasm was not enough for me to give up this hard-won space and I declined after considering the offer for a few minutes. You never want to be hasty.

Anyway, a person in front of me attempted to engage in a little conversation but, after he learned that I am typically a PC user with only the most fleeting familiarity with Mac products, he looked at me like I was a child molester and went back to reading his Wired magazine and eating a Snickers bar. I tried not to look anybody in the eye after that.

I finally made it to the store and was greeted by security guards who doubled as Secret Service agents on the weekend and wore earpieces that I assume communicated directly with NORAD. One of the sales reps took pity after he saw me wandering aimlessly in the aisles. I asked if Apple had any manuals to help me navigate through the Ipad and, when he recovered from his hysterical fit of laughter, he asked me if I knew how to get to Youtube. I carry a map in my car so I assumed I could figure it out later.

I will give him credit, though, he spent about 20 minutes with me, demonstrated how to turn the stupid thing on and then helped compile a list of all of the things I’d need for the trip.

Of course, none of them were available in the store but they could be ordered online and available in 4-6 weeks, about a month after I returned to the US.

I’m typing out this story on the plane. On my Dell laptop.

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