I didn’t want to shop, but the Toshibas were dying. One had viruses that wouldn’t heal; the other had keyboard letters that wouldn’t work.
The day I lost my “s,” I hit the streets. In the second-hand laptop store, the two PC technicians were young and, after conversations about Seoul and Beijing, confessed they both owned a Mac.
Next, at the new London Drugs, the salesguy with long hair and a blue shirt that strained at the buttons, waxed poetic on the elegance of the MacBook Pro. In his pitch, he described the trip to the Apple Store in the Pacific Centre as if it were the Taj Mahal. I am a boomer, a cougar, not a mallrat. In my worldview, fashion outstrips humanity, and sales steal souls. Nevertheless, something had to be done. I switched my hikers for leg-fitting black leather boots with a Cuban heel.
I entered the wide threshold of stale air and florescent lighting. Twenty feet into the coffin-shaped store, I could sniff the hormones of MacGeniuses.
There were gaggles of 20-somethings touching devices in the pumped up cacophony of the place. I bumped people as I inched further into the core. I smiled at the security man. He smiled back. Then he mumbled under the microphone of his headset, “I’m PC.” My mouth dropped. My cheeks reddened. “Hmm,” I was flummoxed. Could he be interested in me? He winked at me. “I’m Bill. I make sure that no one leaves with unpaid...”
“How’s it going?” Ty, the skinny salesboy interrupted our meeting with his cool Apple talk. Yes, they do have their own protocols.
His soft sell left my mind picking through apples:
the Beatles’ green apple logo,
bobbing for apples on Halloween,
the sinful apple Eve picked.
There it was on the silver laptop the transparent white apple missing one bite. I unzipped my wallet. I purchased a computer for more than twice the price of a new PC with Windows 7. I gulped as I bought a printer too.
Three months into it, I am a member of this iCult, which involves iPhoto, iWorks, iTunes, iWeb, iGotta get out of it. When I empty the trash of MacBook, the artificial sound of paper crunching comes from the speaker. I want to slap it silly for thinking it’s so smart.
So far, I’ve met with 12 trainers who trade me off as punishment. Those MacKids don’t always agree on their “work arounds” but each of them is a true devotee. With skin that never sees the light of day, they spend their days off playing with their iPads.
For the extra $100, these youngsters guide me through the “intuitive” hell of Mac OS X Version 10.6.3 and listen to my confused frustration. At each one-on-one appointment, I rant about the horrors of my files with the same transfer date and the jumble of my photos.
I tell myself to breathe deeply. But when I boot the bloody machine, the on-button blows its sound and makes my eyes tear. I experience a heavy dosage of language interference syndrome. My fingers want to move like they used to on the PC, instead of what the Mac requires. It makes me want to throw the machine out a window. But in the Mac store, surprise surprise, there are “No Windows on Premises.”
My arthritic fingers skim the track-pad clumsily. This time, I have purchased “Skin, a form-fitting coverage of silicone to save the keyboard. I’m not convinced that I can live without windows.
I thirst for that sip of sacred Kool-Aid that will make me say “Hallelujah” Mac and turn me into a true believer. I'm not there yet, so I hold BG, my security-man very close. At least he knows where and how to push my right-click button.
DECEMBER 2010 SENIOR LIVING MAGAZINE VANCOUVER & LOWER MAINLAND