After my computer shut off four times in an hour, I broke down and went to the Apple store. Oh boy, was that fun.
Michigan Avenue is probably the worst street in Chicago. I'd have rather dropped my computer off at Wrigley Field. Hell, that would be so convenient - it's only three blocks away! Michigan Avenue, unfortunately, is never convenient. A twenty minute train ride and then ten minutes of walking: not fun. I can't tell what's worse: avoiding drunks on Clark Street or weaving through groups of tourists outside of the American Girl Place. Should little girls be buying dolls on Good Friday? Jesus wept.
I managed to shoot into the Apple store and avoid the greeters (the lowest on the Apple store food chain, I'm sure) and ran right up the stairs. I made an appointment for 1:30 at home (I was hoping I could get a free psychoanalysis while I was there). I waited for a few minutes in front of the Genius Bar when David, easily the nerdiest one behind the counter, called my name. This guy looked like he was plotting to kill someone with the power of mathematics while I explained my iBook troubles.
David agreed that I should send it in, and luckily my warranty is still good for another month. They do charge a fee, however, for backing up my files, so I slid my credit card over to him. He took away one hundred dollars and gave me an Apple ProCare card. "You get a lot of great stuff with this!" he told me. The great stuff include personal training (hour-long sessions with a Mac expert), worldwide access ("...if you find yourself with a software question in London, or just want to book an iMovie session in Tokyo, come by the nearest retail Apple store and we'll help you out."), and "next in line, first on the bench" service at the Genius Bar. What more could I ask for? Oh, I know: an Apple cocktail. I'm sitting at a computer bar, sweating my ass off because the fucking store is ninety degrees, and I have everything. Can't I just get drunk? No? Okay, I'll take that plastic card. I can add "Apple ProCare" to the growing list of pointless organizations to which I belong.
I managed to get out of there in about twenty minutes, but not before I checked my email on one of the computers. Yes, it's a terrific thing that the Apple stores have eight thousand computers with free internet access. I'll admit that. So I stepped up to an iMac and went to GMail, only to discover that the person who checked his/her email before me forgot to sign out. Oh, and they also forgot to change the language back to English. After standing there for a few minutes to figure out what "Log out" was in Portuguese, I gave up and walked to a Powerbook. I wrote a quick email, ending with the line, "i hope the guy
explaining to an old man next to me CAN READ THIS AND SEE HOW MUCH I HATE HIM." That's how aggravated I was at the time. Not only was I hoping to offend some Apple Genius by writing about him in an email, but I also didn't even write a grammatically-correct sentence.
Getting out the store was a highlight of my day, but then I realized that I was still on Michigan Avenue and had to walk three blocks to the Chicago red line stop. I think the best part of that commute was walking behind a father and son. The father, who was probably wearing a shirt that he paid over a hundred dollars for, was trying to explain to his son, who was carrying an overflowing Lacoste shopping bag, why he didn't think he needed to make a reservation at the Ralph Lauren restaurant because, "I'm going to be spending one hundred dollars for the two of us to eat lunch." That's right. You tell those bitches at the hostess station. You? Make a reservation? With your vague European accent? Ohhhh, no. I don't think so, either.