I’m just getting the glass replaced, I remind myself as I make my way through the crowd of aroused techno-files who view computers like porn, they can’t get enough. I wish I could blame my two year old for the shattered iphone in my hand, but I can’t. I’m the clumsy culprit and I know it will cost me. That’s why I’m only here to replace the glass.
“How can I help you?” he asks. His sincerity is disarming in a room full of kids so bright, they could hack NASA.
I cracked my glass, I confess not really wanting to display the evidence.
“You know,” he says…
I nod, knowing exactly what he’s going to say.
“It costs the same to buy a new one as it does to replace the glass,” we say in unison. He smiles. I smile. He shuffles his sneakers back and forth. I pause, noting for the first time since meeting him 120 seconds ago, how the light casts a beautiful shadow across his acne. He pushes his tousled hair off his untweezed brow and looks directly into my soul..eyes., “Don’t worry. I’ll hook you up.” I look at his name tag. It’s on upside down. Thanks werdnA, I say. He looks down, laughs, and asks my name. htidereM, I tell him, wondering if he’ll get the joke. He laughs casually, turns to a passing colleague and says, “She’s funny.” He looks directly at me. “You’re funny.” I know, I whisper longingly as he disappears into the stockroom.
I miss him immediately.
A few minutes later, Andrew returns, gadgets in hand. He looks around the store, notes an empty computer station and nods me over. There’s only one stool. He offers it my way, scoots another over and tells me I just need to pick which new iphone I’d like. I figured I’d just get the same one I had before. “Oh, you mean the old version?” Andrew asks. Mature, I correct. He tells me I could get it, but why not get something newer, with more features? Newer, I think to myself. Newer is good.
He runs down the numbers. 200 to replace the glass. 200 to get a new old iphone. Or 300 to get the new version, “It has video,” Andrew encourages. Who am I, Speilberg? I say with a not subtle hint of sarcasm. Andrew laughs, muttering “Speilberg. Good one.” And then he asks what I do for work.
I’m a writer, I say non-chalant.
“Well, if you’re writing is as funny as you are in person, you must be really successful.”
I’ll take the $300 one, I say, half shouting.
He starts clicking information into the store’s computer asking for passwords, mother’s maiden name, birthdate, along the way. March, I offer intentionally leaving out more. “March what?” Andrew types. 7. I was born on March 7. “Dude, I’m the 3rd! We’re like almost born on the same day!” I tell him March 3rd is a good day, not confessing that March 3rd is also my husband’s birthday. I wouldn’t want Andrew to feel like his day wasn’t special.
He keeps typing, telling me that he’s setting up my new new iphone. “It’ll work when you leave the store.” I ask for clarification. It’ll work like I can use it? No manual? No call to help desk? “I told you I’d hook you up.” I relax on my stool, noting the way my Mac Pro’s fingers dance across the keyboard as he hooks me up.
I hand my license over, wondering if he’ll note the year of my March birthday. He doesn’t. He keeps typing, asking me what kind of writing I do. Movies..and stuff. “Wow. I tried to write a script, but it’s so hard to focus on one thing for a long time.” He’s right. It is. “Plus, everybody my age thinks they can write. I’m more interested in creating TV shows.” I immediately want to help him. This kid’s a gem. He should make it in Hollywood. Not another Harvard educated douche who drops the word “Harvard” into any sentence possible. “My Dad runs tv stations in Northern California,” he confesses when I ask how he got the bug.
Northern California, that’s my neck of the woods.
“Really? That’s why you’re so cool. People from Nor Cal are supremely cool.”
Yeah. We’re cool.
We stop talking for a moment. I look down at my shiny new iphone, with video and intact glass. It's plugged into the store's computer.
“I’m just transferring your info. So you don’t have to do it at home.” Andrew tells me.
We sit in silence. After a minute or two, my new iphone ejaculates a computerized chirp. Andrew tells me it’s all set up. It works now.
Neither of us moves. Andrew turns to me, “Can I show you something?”
“It’s a new feature. If you sign up for it, anytime you put something into your iphone, it’ll upload to your computer. And vice versa. Here, I’ll show you mine.”
He opens a new window, clicks in his password, and opens his mobile world to me noting that I too could have my own webpage, mobile upload software, and email address. I could even lock my phone remotely should I misplace it. He shows me photos he and his friend took of a cat sleeping and let’s me see the photo he just received from his Dad, on his way to the Olympics, a perk that comes with owning two TV stations. I don’t need any of the features. He then reminds me that I could also get an email address with the new mobile software. I ask him how much. I do the math in my head. I’ve had the same earthlink email address for ten years. Despite free services like hotmail and gmail, I’ve paid for mine to avoid transferring to a new address. But if I could connect my phone to my computer without a cord and have an email address for less than the cost of my previous email address, I’d be a fool to pass on this new offer.
I’ll take it. Andrew starts clicking and instantly, my worlds are connected.
It’s time to say goodbye. I don’t want to, but I’ve been in the store for 2 ½ hours. My blood sugar is dropping.
I gather my belongings, my new iphone in hand. Andrew stands, both of us not sure whether to hug or shake hands. We don’t do either, not wanting to spoil the moment. I leave with a simple, Thank you werdnA.
He half-smiles his chapped lips,“Come back soon, htidereM.” But we both know I won’t. Andrew also sold me an iphone cover so I don’t break the glass again. He’s met all my needs.