“Hardware” by Allen Landver, NYC

Money September 8, 2011 00:09

topic: MONEY medium: TEXT

as submitted for the “Connected” Competition

check out Allen’s Website: www.stuffthathanslikes.com

As I entered from 5th Ave and walked down the metallic, spiral staircase, ducking the spider webs, and careful not to touch anything, I was forced to deal with more activity than I was used to. If the weekend was anything like it was supposed to be, then I would not have been here. But, my responsibility now was to duck the tourists, most of them Asian, who were
arriving directly from the airport, by the boat load, wagging their tongues in diplomatic anticipation of the products that the blue shirted elves inside were there to offer. In packs, like little frozen ducks, they cut down the stairs in triangular formations, the likes of which I had not witnessed since playing middle school basketball. While I, gliding past the mouseless mouses and thin as air computers, assumed the countenance of a soldier. I’m thinking about an idea that’s stashed somewhere deeply in the hard drive that I can’t access since the crash, and I try and make a mental note to put this in the folder where it and a few other ideas reside, thinking for a moment about my parent’s divorce and how it might just be related to the unquenchable and constant American, and not just truck driving football watching, Carl’s Junior eating American, but American American desire for new products. Like Quench Gum, a gum that I used to feed on when I was a
kid, and for some reason I could only get at the Sports Chalet. Fed by companies just like the one that I‘m trying to justify being trapped inside right now. Alarm bells are going off in my head somewhere, but their clanging is drowned out by the limitless feeling of deep satisfaction that comes when I have once again landed on something unknown to the rest of the world. I feel like teleporting to tell a girlfriend who I don’t know yet – but suddenly feel very sorry for – for having missed the new Apple product by just a few days, something that I would never do – and telling her they never announce the announcements, they just make them, and what does it even matter, because the reason all this well displayed, LCD laser lit stuff exists is to ruin everything that you have dictated your whole life toward anyway. So Cry Me a River. Where’s the Torah when I need it? To push pictures and images on people so they no longer want to read anything, and if they do, they’re reading cartoons or comic strips, and now you have to learn how to assimilate. But there’s no time to learn anything because
it’s taken this long to learn how to tell a compelling story, so to start cartooning, now, at this age, as you pass kids on colorful little bean bags doodling directly on to computer screens with animated glee – the only thing you can think about is the ten thousand dollars that you borrowed from your father to make that student film, which hasn’t played at enough
festivals, and none of these brain frozen kids would care to watch anyway.
The iPAD 2 has just come out, and it takes less time get to the Genius Bar than usual. My heart rate starts to slow down and, my lips, my bone dry, thin lips, so long pursed with anxiety, finally unfurl. Cry Me a River. I have arrived unscathed at the gatekeepers. The time has come to find a genius and finish the job, which compared to all the other waiting jobs, looks
painfully like the Sistine ceiling might to Picasso’s Proto-Cubist Demoiselles, although it was purchased only a few years ago. Perhaps that one with the long curly hair and the creatively designed beard will be mine. He looks capable and his eyes are warm with understanding, like he’ll graciously walk me through the explanation when I don’t understand it. Standing off by a display of overpriced monitors attached to intrepidly designed telepathic keyboards, I remember some of the other geniuses I had encountered over the weekend. There was Sheldon, from Apple Soho, my 1st genius. The computer wasn’t starting and I did what I always do in this kind of situation – mandated an appointment. The advice this genius, fat ass Sheldon gives me was, as I would continue to learn through further genius interactions, totally half assed. I stood in front of Sheldon, and his bad breath, barely able to get a word out in my despair, when he began rubbing his hairy, doorknob knuckles over the keys of my computer. Like some psychic keyboard-reading PhD. Keys that I had touched before my
computer died. Before, during, and after a pretty darn good and drawn out masturbation session. Me and my giant black rod, pulverizing the woman I was on the beach with. I wondered if Sheldon washed his hands after touching another man’s keyboard. Noting a lack of signs telling geniuses to wash between appointments, I was struck by how dirty and disgusting it all felt. With each key he stroked he was touching me, like some filthy priest. Cry Me a River. Yet I kind of enjoyed it. I enjoyed the way Sheldon’s fingers went gliding over the keys that I spanked as hard as I enjoyed the way that I felt after I was done spanking. Sheldon wished. Sheldon wished. Sheldon was also clear and explained that I had a problematic hard drive, saying this unselfishly like he was giving me tickets to a movie, and I listened like a man walking the plank. I had caught the problem early enough and would still be able to save it. And this memory, because it’s all about memory, is throbbing through my head as I’m standing next to coconut shaped speakers, blasting some extremely loud Beatles song, CRY ME A RIVER, a song that I’ve heard a million times, but somehow, am hearing anew when it’s repackaged for the
millionth time here. As I’m standing three hundred blocks from the Soho store, after a wasted weekend, still waiting for my repaired hard drive, cursing Sheldon, one of these dimwitted Asians, this one in a slick suit and silver Oakley’s, has decided to blast, at full blast, mind you, the speakers.

Testing the power of the speaker, as if the depth of its bass will help fight in his rebellion. As if any of these products has ever failed to live up to its reputation. Or perhaps it’s the novelty. And me, I’m trying to escape the train of thought that I can feel broiling under the surface, because I have been battling it harder than usual this weekend. I quickly cross to the other side toward the iPOD’s. It’s a little quieter here. A little cleaner and tidier because the iPOD’s don’t matter as much now that the iPAD is out. I turn the speakers up myself, and reclaim my poise, laughing at the stupid colors that they come in. Geniuses, in addition to being trained to deal with your hardware are also trained to deal with people in crisis. Part therapist – part doctor – part engineer, as my 2nd genius, Duane, from 14th street, an abnormally huge fan of Twin Peaks, put it. When he isn’t wearing one of the odorless, blue, unassuming uniforms, I imagine Duane probably has blood all over his clothing. I imagine him eating chili Frito’s in his living room, wearing only socks, licking his fingers, while a baby cries somewhere in the next room. In reality these geniuses have no clue what it takes to confront someone in crisis. Someone who may or may not have lost their hard drive. Having retreated from the iPOD’s to the bathroom, I luxuriate in how much this place actually reeks of public restroom and how little attention to detail they’ve given it. This is the case in all of the stores. No laser spectacles or fancy flat screens, just the smell of piss and the ugly yellow fluorescence. I like to spend time organizing my folders on my computer, renaming them. Putting them in different position on my desktop is another thing that I seem to get a reasonable amount of satisfaction out of. It’s all needless entertainment. The floors are painted with napkins stuck to puddles of misfired urine and the trash overflows. Touching anything here is for the braver of the race. Perhaps I will live here, until I break down and some genius takes me in to get treated. To get my hard drive repaired by a
faceless, blue (man group) elf. I start to imagine how that would feel. One of these massless computers or colorful, thin as air pointlessnesses, with a never-ending stream of improvements added on to my most accepting hard drive. What it must feel like to be placed on some anonymous table, opened, examined – fixed. The drums was my best friend’s favorite instrument before he got buried. He would have probably found another instrument if he lived another year. He was always changing his mind. I have another friend who lives on a plane going between two places. The Statue of Liberty should get sponsored by Delta, and a back rub. In that vulnerable state of tangled wires, I exit the bathroom, and I’m back inside the store, where the numbing worthlessness creeps into me again like a speeding train of Novocain. Blinding me. Near the Genius Bar, I’m gearing

up for diagnosis – reminding myself that no matter how unaffordable and incredible they, these products are, beneath all the shiny, glowing hardware, inside each product, lies an operating system set against a black screen and blinking with blank cursors. I’m with Jackson now, my third and final genius, who’s handing me my 5th and final receipt, and picking it up, my computer, I don’t have to turn it on to know. It was all there on Jackson’s face, buried behind his beard. At the top of the stairs, I take one last look around at all the products and all the people and Asians who have made it here. Fondling my final receipt, I squint to make sure it’s all really there. And it is, and they are – all the products – here – the mouseless mouses and thin as air speakers and magnetic keyboards. Anxiety, feelings – fade. Eased into the glassy white whiteness of Apple computers flagship 5th Ave store, better known to all those who know it as The Cube.

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