The promise was rock-solid. The nine year old grandson was to get an IPod which he had saved up for with the help of grandparents who lived in self- denial. The denial was to do with unselfishly depositing money in little carton boxes at regular intervals so the grandkids could buy electronic things with buttons and batteries. The carton money boxes had names on them were well hidden especially when one of the boxes had been found with less money than before. After this discovery one of the grandsons was unusual emotional and getting very teary. He wasn’t the one who had less money in the box. He seemed all of a sudden full of goodwill and even made his bed and picked flowers for his Oma. Where did all this benevolence come from?
We held council and instead of holding an inquisition decided not to push the matter. The one whose carton box had been pillaged had become unusual philosophical and somewhat sanguine. We felt that the little brothers had come to a satisfactory financial agreement between themselves and with harmony and order returning between each other felt that our intervention would indeed have been superfluous.
The next stage for buying the IPod was to investigate all available options. I had heard of different IPod/Pad but as with most of those fashion items was totally an ignoramus of what they entailed or indeed what they did. I know that the grandson with a Pod was forever flicking the screen and clearly things were moving on the screen. They could play games, if pushing or touching a small screen can be called a game.
In my days we would lay small incendiary devices on tram-rails made of match heads and hollow metal pipes. My younger brothers had burnt down a disused town-hall in The Hague and another one had whacked frail old ladies with an even older umbrella while riding pillion on the bicycle. They were the games of former times. We were made of so much sterner stuff.
We thought a fair start would be to go and pay a visit to Dick Smith. He was after all the man of ‘buy Australian’. Didn’t he try and safe vegemite from being taken over? Even though, personally, I was never enthusiastic about smearing brown stuff over a piece of white Tip Top, I was patriotic enough and supportive of Dick in trying to safe this iconic true Australian delicacy.
The blond girl at Dick Smith wasn’t too helpful and decided to; rightly so, put me in the geriatric section of IPod buyers. She kind of looked me up and down. I retaliated by staring over her shoulders at the same movie that was being played on about twenty screens against the back wall. Twenty green monsters, deep in a forest, were all blowing smoke from their nostrils, all in perfect time. I asked her earnestly if an IPod would support a shopping list and if it had a smoke alarm in case of forgetting about the pizza in the oven. I think she got the hint that her sales service was somewhat lacking.
We then walked across the usual parking dessert of a major shopping centers, through a food court in full swing with dozens of hungry shoppers bent over their Big Macs and slurping slushies and walked into a BigW store. Now, there was a service. A sharp young man of about 17 explained very crisply the how’s and why’s of an IPod. It turns out it is an Apple product and that there are other similar products which are different and have different names. He was resolute in his explanations and ,above all, kept the information simple and precise.
This coming Sunday we will return with our grandson and his carton money box and buy him the Apple IPod.
There is hope for all of us.