here’s the draft I am working on for the write a novel thing. It’s full of my usual social satire and bleak pessimism.
I went into the post office and picked up the package containing my iPhone. I went next door to the restaurant again, ordered another coffee and began to open the package. I looked at the device, my third iPhone and realised that the happiness I had experienced on receiving this device was proportionally less than that I had experienced when receiving the last iPhone, an experience which had similarly afforded me less happiness than the purchase of my first phone.
I inserted the sim and turned the device on, downloading all of my apps from the cloud. The restaurateur brought me my coffee. He stopped to chat for a while. The coffee was nice and fresh as I took a sip and, for a moment, it satisfied. Then I was left with the empty feeling that material comforts leave once you realise how temporal they are, how time is slipping away from you and all that.
‘How’s it going?’ asked Albert, the restaurant manager. Albert worked almost singlehandedly, night and day to run this establishment. It was a nice boutique restaurant, and of a certain quality, but he worked hard – very hard – to make a go of it. He had another couple of staff who worked with him on the weekends. That’s when he got a lot of bookings from his regular client and from others who heard about him through word of mouth or the internet. But I liked it when the restaurant was quiet like this, because it was so clean. Even though he was a large man, who had survived a heart attack a year ago, Albert was meticulous, very meticulous. He was dressed in a kind of white apron and jeans, his hands folded together in front of him as he spoke to me politely.
‘How’s it going?’ he repeated, more as a conversation starter than an enquiry into my health, ‘you look very smart as usual, professor.’
I realised that I probably seemed overdressed for the occasion. I was in my dark indigo jeans, an Italian-made sports coat with a brown windowpane pattern, a black shirt and I had my sunglasses on my head my hair was tousled and thrust back with the wind swept look that was currently in vogue.
‘Yeah, I’m fine,’ I said.
He complained for a while about how bad business was. He called me professor because he knew I used to work as a high school teacher when I first met him. Then he left me to my coffee and bagels and I went back to playing with my iPad. I put my phone in my pocket as I waited for the apps and my music to download. I went back to eBay and started to compare laptop prices. Damn it, I want a MacBook Air, I thought. I want to trade in my old useless PC, for beautiful light ultra-book. I hadn’t brought myself to do it, balking at the cost each time I had thought I had made a decision to buy. Even though I reasoned it would be affordable and it would not set me back financially, in my heart of hearts I dreaded what suppose I knew I would feel when I bought it. It would not give me the material happiness for which the image of the computer represented, nor would it provide the boost in productivity, finally unlocking all of these ideas that I had hoped to put onto paper. I had projected all these hopes and dreams on the purchase of the new laptop, none of which it would provide, hence I yearned for it but felt let down by my yearning at the same time, as I knew it was clutching at the wind. I ordered another coffee.
The phone rang. All of my contacts had transferred across by now and I noted that it was Samantha, my ex-wife. What the heck does she want? I wondered, which was not necessarily meant to slight Sam, as I typically responded that way no matter who called me. My irritation was increased by the iPhone ringtone. I obviously had not had the chance to set up my own ringtones so the blasted original iPhone tone was ringing making the sound of a metallic timbrel enclosed in a phone booth. Dee de doo de do…dee de doo de do…
Just the thought of anyone hearing this ringtone made me extremely self-conscious, as I did not want them to think I was a noob or a scrub who did not know how to set my own ringtones.
‘Hello Sam’ I said, stepping outside and waving to Albert. I had left $10 on the table and he waved at me, his eyes beaming his customary warmth and energy.