Another scorching day here in the outskirts of Washington D.C. Rain was in the forecast but it never delivered, but who’s complaining? Yesterday the temperature reached past 100 degrees. Thank goodness, I only felt that within the brief period I walked from the car to the mall and back. Most of the time, I was in the comfort of an air-conditioned home (something that we don’t have in Germany), an air-conditioned car and store.
I must admit I don’t quite enjoy mall-shopping anymore. Online shopping, which I’ve gotten used to since moving out of the US, has mostly solved the problem of how to acquire something in the most convenient and hassle-free (although maybe not the fastest) way for me. Which brings me to the image I saw today at the town center of Reston – eager folks standing in line under the blazing heat outside the Apple store, waiting patiently to get their hands on the new iPhone. I heard that some of them were camping out since last night. The line snaked out in both directions, and you can tell by the looks of most folks that they were miserable under that heat, sweating under their cotton shirts and shorts. Some even were in their corporate suits – they most likely have skipped or rushed lunch for the love of their must-have phone, men adjusting their ties, women switching the weight on their legs from the discomfort of their high heels. I had just come out from a delicious lunch of Asian salad and chicken satay at the next-door Big Bowl, feeling a hundred times luckier and feeling more comfortable than these folks.
Both corporate America and the media have done an excellent job of luring people into this crazed world of consumerism. We are now consumed by consumerism. Want-to-haves become must-haves. And people seem to want the fastest of everything now – fast cars, fast computers, fast phones, even fast food, and they want them all fast — like now. Also the trend of multi-tasking products become much more appealing – a phone, a camera, a computer, a radio, a book, etc. all in one piece of gadget like a Swiss Army knife that can do everything but make coffee. Gone were the days when we used to sit in front of our TV sets, mouths agape, mesmerized by MacGyver’s awesome ability to turn mundane objects into powerful tools – a paper clip to dismantle a missile or a wad of gum to build a plane. Nowadays, with higher expectations, it takes a lot more to impress us. And almost without fail, Steve Jobs and the like become our present-day MacGyver and help save the world.
I’m not detaching myself from this crazy bunch of people, as I myself get enticed by these clever marketing techniques (and scams) sometimes. Luckily, we don’t get the same commercials in Germany as Americans get here, because I can’t imagine what it’s like everyday with the non-stop brainwashing that proliferates TV, billboards or even your mail, and with your dinner being interrupted by telemarketers. I surely don’t miss those days when I used to live here and getting all those.
Nowadays, I find that it’s mostly something out of necessity for my business or even self-improvement that I tend to buy things for. Watch me wash my hands now and start to sound defensive. But you definitely won’t see me standing in line for hours for something that I think can wait for a few more days or even months.
All that’s been said and I am here confessing that I just got my hands on another piece of technology. So I am guilty as well, but at least I did not stand in line for it. 😀
Finally I got my MacBook Pro – nice big 17″ screen, Intel Core i7 processor, aluminum unibody, multi-touch glass trackpad, anti-glare screen, backlit keyboard — all that delicious goodness I could ask for and more. I could definitely see myself working hard on this piece of equipment, multi-tasking and running dozens of apps at one time.
I’ve already got it set up with Photoshop CS4, so it’s ready to roll. It really looks like one mean machine ready for graphics overload and all my thousands and thousands of photos. If you could only see (and hear) the computer I’ve been using at home to process my photos, I’m sure you’d all agree that it’s about time I got a better one.
So this is where I’m going to end this post, as I have yet to enjoy and explore this new toy. I’ve already discovered how to use several fingers in different ways across the trackpad. The things they come up these days, it’s amazing. MacGyver would have just scoffed at all these, but then people had enough of this guy after 7 seasons, just barely after the World Wide Web debuted on the Internet and the computer has suddenly became people’s newest fascination. Times have surely changed, and so did people.