Last week Sweetie and I were looking for a car dealership in a part of town we don't often frequent. We passed it on the freeway, took a right and got lost in a maze of condominium complexes, medical offices, and a few strip malls. All separated by walking paths and/or retention ponds. I couldn't help but notice there were very few trees except for the scraggly new ones planted to take the place of the woodlands that were cut down to make the neighborhood. The buildings all looked alike. And the few people I saw seemed to be clones of each other. 30 something, walking a small dog of the yappy variety.They were undoubtedly either coming from the gym or going to the gym.
Since we couldn't find the car place we decided to locate a pizza joint we ate at once and really liked. Again our search proved fruitless. Again we drove through a carbon copy of the other place except there were more shops and even less trees. The more we circled the apartments and condos the more depressed I got. I wonder if that kind of stacked up on each other kind of living is the alternative to a big house in an older established neighborhood. I felt old. I'm pretty sure if I was younger, working as pharmaceutical salesman, going for sushi after a good work out, drinking red wine from fancy glasses, could talk about the economy or politics or sports, owned a BMW and a French Bulldog I wouldn't have felt so out of place.
Today was even worse. I had to take my computer to the Apple store for a new battery. I had an appointment at the "Genius" bar. I arrived ten minutes before my appointment time, went directly to the back of the store. When someone noticed me he asked my name and if I had checked in. What I thought was a welcome committee, the aisle formed by 2 blue shirted, Ipad holders on either side of the door was apparently the place I was supposed to check in. No problem, the "Genius" looked me up on his Ipad and told me to wait. I am not kidding when I tell you I felt as if I'd just walked onto the movie set of some futuristic sci-movie. To start with I counted at least 16 blue shirts. Several of which had those big circle things in their ears, had face piercings and tattoos. I'm not judging how they looked, just that there were so many in one place. I doubt I could have been more intimidated if I tried to walk down a hall in the White House. The outfits were different, but the "Geniuses" were every bit as intent on what they were doing as secret service guys in dark suits.
Then I looked at the people who were there to shop or take a class or get a repair. Except for the 3 year old (who could maneuver around the computer on the kids table like a genius in training) and a couple older folk sporting white hair and glasses, everyone was in the same age group - somewhere between 18-35. A few pushed baby strollers and drank Starbucks coffee. Some were engaged in conversation on Iphones. Others balanced on black balls at tables just the right size for the toddler but way too short for grown people. I considered trying to sit on one of the balls while I waited. Since I was pretty sure I'd fall on by ass in a very undignified legs over head manner I chose to stand instead. I looked over people's shoulders to see what they were doing. I'm pretty sure the language they spoke was ancient Chinese.
Justin was the genius who helped me. He was polite and patient. He checked my computer out, verified I needed a new battery. Not only was this kid MacSavvy he could multi-task. As he typed my information into his Ipad he tried to explain to me "life cycles" of a computer battery. While we waited for a printout I couldn't help but overhear the older couple next to me explain their screen went black every time they closed the top ... or something like that. You know the stupid feeling you get when your car makes a clicking noise that sounds like something is horribly wrong under the hood but when you take it to the mechanic it purrs like a lioness with a stomach full of antelope? I think that's what was happening to them, because the computer was checking out just fine - no dark screen, no pinched wires. I watched as the lady kept shutting the lid harder and harder to re-create the problem every time the genius looked away. I could tell by the look in her eye she was considering hitting it with her shoe.
Justin tells me he'll replace the battery on his lunch break so I don't have to be without my computer over night. I thought that was pretty nice. I couldn't help but notice that everyone in the store was nice even if I couldn't understand much of what they said. When I went back later to pick up my computer, I knew I had to check in. One of the blue shirts saw me waving my receipt and pointed to the check in person who pointed at the nearest blue shirt who said follow me which I did without incident except for almost being swallowed up by the crowd near the laptops. In five minutes I had my machine in one hand and my credit card in the other. Even though Justin told me I'd have to pay for the battery because it's consumable the handheld calculator/phone/card swiper said I owed nothing. It was a stroke of good luck I couldn't fathom so I made the guy go check with a human. Wouldn't you know the computer was right. I got my battery for free. So I sign the bottom of the receipt and hand my new best friend his pen back and he sticks it right into the hole in his ear like a librarian might stick a pencil in her beehive hairdo. I couldn't help myself. I started laughing. It cracked me up to see him looking all "geniusy" with a pen in his ear. He laughed too so I guess he's had that reaction before.
Here I sit in my own quiet den, typing on a spic and span Macbook feeling like my grandmother must have felt when the push button phone was invented - old.