Steve Jobs and the Art of Spectacle making.
I have changed my mind about ‘Apple’. Steve Jobs was a creative genius and may his soul rest in peace. I watched a program about Steve’s life on TV last night and it just blew me over.
If ever there was proof of ageing stultifying opinions, my previous haughty disdain for any gadget with little buttons, was in the pudding. The proof of the pudding is that very often, people with advancing years resist the jigging about of the younger ones and fresh ideas. It must be a form of dormant jealousy that pops up when it starts to dawn on us, that that’s it, the fag end of life is nigh. There is little I can do about it now except repent and try and improve, become tolerant of little buttons and their pushers. Perhaps take up dancing lessons or knitting.
Years ago, on the train chockers with passengers I once stood up for a woman who looked a bit pale and tired. I was perhaps seventeen and working for Spectacle Makers and Co, a company in Clarence Street. My job was to grind lenses to their prescribed specification. A horribly dirty job that included splashing slurry of water and fine grinding powder on the future lenses of chunks of glass that were fastened on a metal rotating chock with the use of hot tar. It was then a world of concave and convex measurements with strange and exotic workers initiating ceremonies involving blue ultramarine dye rubbed around the novice apprentices’ private parts.
When I stood up, gallantly offering my seat, I was astonished by the reply,’ do I look that bad, she said?’ I mumbled something like’ no-sorry, you look OK’. Of course, I moved carriages and never stood up since, even if they were pregnant and close to breaking waters. The world of convex surfaces taught me a lesson and pregnant women did not break my resolve to remain seated.
Some many years later, with the Balmain local ALP Branch firmly in the hands of right wing crooks and welders of steel containers smuggling drugs and importing loose women, I queued up to renew membership. Suddenly a few large burly blokes entered the Balmain Town-Hall. One came behind me and said ‘make room for a pregnant lady, you poofter.’ I retorted, ‘you are not pregnant and you are not even a woman but could be a poofter’.
Pandemonium broke out, especially when a fire extinguisher was pulled from the wall and hurled through the upstairs window. The police, who were next door never even turned up. They were in cahoots with the punch throwing right-wing thugs. All the women at the meeting turned pale. The member books were stolen, lights switched off and we all (the bleeding left wing faction) adjourned to the local William Wallace for schooners and solace. My bleeding nose was soothed by a woman called Elisabeth, I remember it still. My pain started to wane after the fourth schooner coinciding with Bridie King’s band starting up a wild and tempestuous blues number. It shows that the world of pregnant ladies and my cruel refusal to get up for them in trains finally caught up with me.
It came back to me on the train last week, this time between Mortdale and Central Station. There I was, standing up swaying amongst all the Iphone pushers and shakers. I was hoping a young person would get up and gallantly offer an elderly gent a seat. No, not even a hint of respect, they kept bent over their world of Apps and GPS’s. “It tells me I am on the train”, someone whispered to a friend; really, wow?
Perhaps pregnancy and old age used to be neck and neck during the past when it came to standing up in public transport.
I’ll try it on crutches next time or shall I just faint and dribble a bit?