The older woman sitting across from me looked annoyed to be waiting for help. She looked up angrily at me and kept repositioning the diamond encrusted bangle on her wrist to see the time on her watch. I wasn’t sure what I had done to offend her. I think I might have tried to smile at her at point. Whatever happened, I threw myself back into reading the texts on my phone.
If that weren’t enough, the two guys on the other side of me wore wrist watches and cufflinks that probably cost more than my first car and kept sighing every time another customer came to sit down.
I shook my head mad at myself.
It was my fault that I was sitting with these strangers. My phone battery wouldn’t keep a charge. I had set up a time to talk with support representative at the Apple Store in the King of Prussia Mall, which depending on who you believe ranks as the largest or second largest mall in the U.S.
In any event, I was on vacation and could have easily scheduled time with the Apple representative during the week. Of course, I chose one of the busier weekend times to schedule my appointment.
So, I sat and sat and waited and, as you may have guessed or even surmised from reading any of my other columns, I’m not the most patient of people.
Some people will never get it
The time ticked off the clock. The woman continued to peek at her watch, but she had moved onto talking loudly with with her husband. She was telling him about a neighborhood friend who had cut the price of her house.
“Can you believe that? She cut it back to $950,000. I told her to hold out for more, but you know Jeanine, there’s no telling her.”
I tried to mind my own business. I really tried, but I couldn’t help but marvel at the number. I let it sink in. I thought about the things that you could do with that kind of money. I thought about the reasonably priced homes you could buy and how the savings could fund other important things. I thought too about the contributions you could make to community good deeds and fund drives.
While, some people get it
I thought too about the newsclip I had watched before coming to the mall. The local news anchor on the television in my bedroom had interviewed a family that had lost their home in a fire. The family had lost everything, their lifesavings, their home, everything. They were worried about insurance covering their loss, but they went out of their way to thank their neighbors for their help and support.
They couldn’t stop expressing gratitude that no one was hurt, that everyone had gotten out alive and in one piece.
Despite the terrible setback, they were grateful. All the while, the woman next to me saw everything through dollar bill colored sunglasses. Nothing had value unless it could help her.
Concentration of wealth
When my kids were younger, I used to love to travel to the mall to people watch. The King of Prussia mall, with its mass of cars and people, was no different. Now, not so much. I find the pretentiousness to be mind-blowing.
I get it. I’m in an Apple store. I’m surrounded by wealth. People are there to see and be seen. I’m part of the problem, but I still couldn’t get over the self-serving wealth and me-first attitudes that seemed to come out for public display around every corner of the mall.
Fortunately for me, my reservation came quickly and the Apple representative was able to help me in a relatively quick period of time.
Run Forest Run
When we were done, I couldn’t run out of the store fast enough. I was like an injured bird that has healed back to life and then freed. In the back of my head, I kept thinking of “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samual Taylor Coleridge. In the poem, an old sailor is surrounded by seawater and bemoans “water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink.”
Of course, in my mind, I replaced water with money: “Money, money everywhere and not a drop of common sense in sight.”
I’m not much of a poet, my version isn’t quite as grandiose as the original, but I still thought my version was appropriate for the moment.