Tall Thought 33: Sunday / by Jennifer Wisniewski


 "Hi ho hi ho, it’s off to the Apple store we go!"

Stella’s phone went on the fritz. When I came home, after a dizzying work day, she was curled up on the floor sobbing. She informed me that she couldn't do her homework without her iPhone—and she didn't know what to do. I quickly realized that any rationale was useless, so I hopped on the phone with AT&T, and after 40 minutes they explained their protocol. Which was: the phone in question is under a warranty and I have to go into the Apple store, so they can first try to fix it or exchange it. I make an attempt to talk myself out of it—as if I’m trying to get out of jury duty. I informed him of my hectic work schedule, but the robotic representative from Apple (pretending to be a human) wasn’t buying it.

The next morning, Stella and I set out on our virgin voyage to the Apple store at Old Orchard Mall. As we arrived, there was already a line forming outside, so I stood in it, thinking ... "this must be how the Apple system works." A lady behind me tapped me on the shoulder to explain that *this line* is only for procuring the “new” iPhone. She instructs me to actually go on into the store and just grab “anyone”.

When I stepped inside, I wondered where the line to the cashier was—or a place where I can take a number? As I walk up to (what I think is) a reception desk (nope—sorry: that’s the genius bar), a frisky human, with an IPad under their arm, jumps in front of me and asks hiply, “how’s your day going?” My austere response is to just tell him that Stella’s phone doesn’t work. "Oh, ooook", he says in a very subdued, calming voice, "Let's run some tests and see what we can do!" I’m already tired of Apple's shenanigans—so with restraint, I respond: “It’s a phone! Not a sick baby. It doesn’t work anymore, so can we just get a new one?” He calmly responds, “I hear you—and we're just going to take a look at the diagnostics and see what variables we are dealing with.”

After checking “under the hood”, he points to the corner of the store and asks me to wait there. I ask where and he says, "There. In the corner”. I am now in another state of confusion ... "How will someone know I’m waiting in this random corner?" I ask again ... "Over ... there?” He reassures me with, “Ma’am, please—someone will be right with you.”

As soon as I doubt everything (and begin to feel like this mental state of Apple purgatory will never end), a woman with a tattoo on her arm saying “Safe Word” (I didn’t know irony played at Apple, but I can’t get into her backstory right now), came carrying over a new iPhone. My daughter exhales immediately and I say "thank you."

As were walking out, Stella turns to me and says she’s proud of me for keeping it together. I say “Baby ... I didn’t have much of a choice.” She quickly replies, asking me why—and I say: “Because it’s Apple’s world—and we're just living it.”