When I awoke this limpid Sunday morning the only thing we had planned was a late afternoon movie at the cult Bytowne Cinema, formerly called the Nelson Theatre because it is located near the intersection of Rideau and Nelson Streets. Nelson Street has long since been blocked at Besserer Street. There is now conveniently at this deadend roundabout a little-known parking lot upon which we stumbled and where we ended parking for the movie. But I am getting ahead of myself. Before we got to the theatre there were other things happening.
We have a top-floor corner apartment and windows on both the front and side. The place lends itself to a ready view of the unfolding day. It was evident this morning as I drew back the bedroom draperies that we were in for a spectacular autumn day, cool and clear with fluffy white clouds. Traditionally my first stop out of the bedroom is my laptop computer where I routinely scour my machine for recent emails, current bank balances, the latest investment status and riveting codswallop from the local electronic newspaper. This morning however I detoured to my new Bose mini-speaker which I had purchased yesterday. I transported it gingerly from its secluded charging cradle on the burl walnut corner table in the bedroom to a shelf on the solid oak bookcase next to my computer. The synchronized music from my iPhone was gratifyingly set in motion wirelessly in an instant. All was well. I reckon I had time for a bowl of cereal and at least one cup of coffee. But the dulcet bliss was short-lived. In keeping with my general bipolar existence, yesterday’s euphoria rapidly translated into today’s disappointment. I heard vibration coming from the mini-speaker. Of course I hastened to convince myself that I had heard no such thing. But the jarring annoyance repeated itself. I then moved the device from the bookshelf (where I reasoned the pronounced bass had mingled with the exposed leafs of paper from one of the books on the shelf) and placed the device on the table next to me. The vibration persisted. This time I was able to force the occurrence by controlling the progress of the music as it played. Whenever I restarted the music in the same spot on the visual continuum, the vibration erupted, and for more than one piece of music.
For some this determination would have concluded the matter. For me it was just the start. I wasn’t about to pacify myself that I had diagnosed the problem and that it would resolve itself in due course. My focus was now the swift return of the device and the procurement of its replacement. Thank God the Christian Right had been defeated in its opposition to Sunday shopping! My interest in eating dissipated. Contemporaneously my appetite for life was all but gone! All my energy was directed to the project at hand, surmounting this unanticipated roadblock to my apple-pie order. Fortunately the purchase was only made yesterday and I could therefore recall where I had stashed the packaging and the credit card receipt. A hurried telephone call to Best Buy led me to conclude that the slackers didn’t open their doors to the consuming public until likely noon. It was still only nine o’clock. I had hours to fill before I could relieve my anxiety by getting in my car and driving there. Neither did I want to disrupt my normal plans for the day so that meant I had to distract myself sufficiently to coordinate a bike ride, a critical part of my normally regimented day (though you’d never know it to see my protuberant belly).
On a day like today a bike ride would normally have been par excellence. But as I rolled along, oblivious to the bucolic splendour about me my mind was narrowly fastened to the mini-speaker and its replacement. I contemplated whether I could just live with a bit of vibration. I speculated that if for some reason Best Buy would not permit the replacement (say, because I couldn’t prove the device was defective – though I fashioned an elaborate scheme by which I might do that as well) I would just buy another one and leave them with the defect, a flippancy calculated to demonstrate my sacrificial commitment to excellence. Or I might keep the defective one and give it to someone who mightn’t be so picky. Or I would threaten a law suit against the company. Or broadcast terrible things on Facebook.
Finally the bike ride was over and we commenced welcome preparation for departure to Best Buy. I thought about telephoning them to enquire about the “return policy” but reconsidered when I imagined that I might not like what I heard and I preferred not to contaminate my enthusiasm and to be within neck-wringing distance when I got the news. I resolved to take the risk. My patience was wearing thin. At last we were on the move.
It speaks to the level of my self-absorption that on such a fine day as this I willingly side-lined the normally compelling ritual of having the car washed before undertaking public engagement. We headed like an arrow to Best Buy. Once there I purposively by-passed the “greeter” and charged on the oblique towards the “Customer Service” counter. I had become one of those mission-bent nut cases. I heard the greeter clamouring something about return items and the need for a sticker which my traveling companion apologetically collected on my behalf. At the same moment by entire chance the salesman who had looked after us yesterday materialized, his cheeks still rosy and smiling seraphically. Seeing him I lunged towards him to sever his attention from the crowd of others mingling inconsequentially about him. He remembered me and grasped in an instant the thrust of my concern. An associate of his mistakenly thought to alleviate my distress by suggesting that the vibration was caused not by an internal defect but rather by the metal casing of the device upon the particular table where it had been positioned. I of course had no hesitation or difficulty in rebutting this line of reasoning though he was obstinate. At last the pleasant salesman broke the division, aligned with me and agreed that I wanted the device replaced. Further examination of the cause in general or the symptom in particular was thus rendered irrelevant. My heart soared! The salesman then led us to the original scene of the crime where I secured an entirely new device wrapped in plastic and bound by its security cables and lock. It was Christmas morning all over again! While there I picked up a cover case and a travel bag. It was then but minutes before the very efficient female clerk at Customer Service had us processed and checked-out.
Now the sun was really shining!
While traveling back home a telephone call came from my sister and her husband who were in the area and who wondered whether they might stop by for a visit. We were naturally pleased to see them and told them so. Moments later they were peering into the apartment door. In addition to touring them about the apartment (which they hadn’t seen before) we shared with them my latest replacement acquisition (though frankly I don’t think I told them it was a replacement). They were both as much taken with the device as I am. We also introduced them to other technology we have in the apartment, like the electric impulse machine for improving leg circulation and relieving muscle tension, the wireless scanner and the Siri dictation feature of Apple products. We felt horribly avant-garde!
Due to this welcome social interlude I had yet to unravel all elements of my new acquisitions but my erstwhile agitation was anaesthetized. Not long after my sister and brother-in-law departed we directed ourselves to the car once again for the movie in the City. The seats at the Bytowne Cinema are dreadful, uncommonly narrow by popular standards, certainly not made for stout people. The movie like most at the Bytowne was heavy on the intellect and therefore stimulating without the usual appalling violence and predictable plot of Hollywood.
Cultivating a rebounded state of harmony we returned home in the setting sun after having at last put the car through the automatic wash. I rounded out my sense of filial duty by telephoning my mother. My sister called to invite us for dinner but we were by then intent upon dining at home. And I had yet to complete my immersion in the new device. As I write, the diverting atmosphere of “Late Night Jazz” from Spotify is reconstituting me. Life has returned to a very favourable and even keeled middle-C.