When I returned home late Thursday night, my wife informed me that the gift we had bought for our middle child was AWOL. It was the main thing we had gone out for on Black Friday, in itself an adventure I'll share as soon as I can find the Providence in it. So after tearing apart the bedroom and going through the trash twice to make sure it wasn't in a bag she had thrown out, I headed out to "rescue" ChristX Day by re-purchasing a white, 8GB iPod Touch. No problem, right? Wrong. Wal-Mart had a few 16 and plenty of 32 GB, but no 8 and even the four hundred-dollar 32's were not white. So I went to another store. And another. By the time I was 30 miles away I decided to just go straight to the Horse's Mouth.
My previous adventure at the Apple store was a roaring success. I had purchased a cosmetic blemished iPhone 4 back in July for my wife. After a day of use she realized that while she could talk on the speakerphone, the ear speaker didn't work. So, our 80 dollar phone wasn't such a bargain. The next day at church a friend said to make an appointment at the Apple store. To make an appointment at a retail store seemed dumb to me, but then she relayed to me that while there were 30 people who could help you, there were 60 people needing help. The next evening at our appointed time the person who came to assist us said that she couldn't fix the problem, but if we had five minutes she could replace the phone. I told her to take 6 if she needed. Five minutes later we walked out with a brand new iPhone 4 for no charge and a love of Apple customer service.
My Christmas Adam Shopping Spree was no different. Not only did the Apple store have exactly what I wanted, Apple had a table set up with most of their big selling items as an Express Check Out. I went about halfway into the store to find the end of the line and thought it would be a while before getting served. Less than five minutes later I was being helped, got the exact iPod I wanted, at the price I expected, have a receipt mailed to me, and again have the desire to switch all my electronics to Apple--even the ones they don't make.
The picture here is a shot of a desktop frame that demonstrates the fact that I am still tied to my non-Apple computers. The point is that Tradition can mean being tied down to what you've always done, even when it doesn't make sense. As is often the case, another of my favorite authors said it best in The Weight of Glory:
Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.
So often only the ignorant child making mud pies part of this quote is used, but I find the whole paragraph to be even more powerful. Making mud pies comes naturally, no parent ever had to show their child. Likewise, no parent has ever had to tell a child to be moved the first time they see the sea, yet the child had no idea it was there. Tradition in our daily lives may well be the thing that holds us back from that holiday at the sea. ~~~~~~~
As an aside that really adds nothing to the post, my sister will recognize the picture here. She and my brother-in-law give me something from Despair.com nearly every year. This is one of my favorite (I never much liked the one about Inspiration and engineers that smell bad), especially since the Government (If you think the problems we create are bad, wait until you see the solution) coffee cup broke. The fact that I was wearing my "Made in the USA--By Robots" shirt yesterday had nothing to do with the use of this picture (you believe that right?). Perhaps it is my favorite because down deep in my heart I one day want to run the streets of Pamplona. I have wanted to do this ever since I read Caravans by one of my favorite authors as a teenager so it has nothing to do with having recently read The Old Man and the Sea and The Sun Also Rises.
Update well after Christmas: My gift this year was a t-shirt that says "Powered by ADHD."