Thingism is the life philosophy which holds that the perpetual hunt for and accumulation of shiny, cool material stuff is the key to, well, not to happiness, but to forestalling the ever-looming ennui and dread that is always encroaching, threatening to engulf us in darkness, which is the next best thing.
Don’t weep into your pillow all night. Get some shiny new shit.
It is the secret to Apple’s success.
There I was, slowly and mundanely and drably living, hacking my way through jobbo, pausing to stare at the blank empty cieling and sigh, then wait for the sigh to echo back to me, confirming the emptiness in my soul by repeating it to me several times. There I was losing even the little dregs that remained of my faith in the existence of joy and meaning.
Then some idle internet surfing brought me to this item.
It is a watch and it is an MP3 player.
Now, for a while I had been aware, in so much as a semi-catatonic office zombie can be aware of his own feelings, of the desire to have a wristwatch that can be worn with T-shirts and jeans. I am not a fashionable person. When I don’t give a shit, I wear whatever. The only watch I own, however, is rather fancy and it clashes with the general ensemble, distorting the message by looking kind of like a shit being given.
I had been thinking of getting a plain white clockface, and a plain black strap.
I had also been thinking of getting a separate machine for my music. I have a mental jukebox that shuffles wildly. I will go from Run DMC to Coltrane, Cassidy, Emile Sande, Dire Straits, Masekela, Maroon 5, Syleena Johnson, Scarface, Faithless, Slaughterhouse to Pink in the same hour. It would be pleasant if I have one portable handheld device to play whatever I feel like whenever I want it.
So when I first saw the iPod watch I was struck by a spasm of thingistic inspiration.
Two in one. The watch and (granted 16 not 32 GB) music at once. And look. It is new and shiny and gleams with all the promise of delight that the best thingistic artifacts bear.
I did not hesitate any longer than a wraith rotting in sheol would hesitate if he saw a bright silver rope dangling down into the dungeon offering to lead him to the light above. I got on facebook and hollered at the company that gets me stuff.
Two weeks of anxiety followed. It is agony but it is good for you, according to thingism. Because the anticipation, the nerves, the compulsive google-image-searching of the object of your desire, all that would drive you crazy if you were not already mad as Animaniacs but it helps distract from the hollowness of your soul.
Then the thing arrives and you hold it in your hands and hear that harp-chime-choir thing. “Haaaaaaaaaaah.”
I felt new, revived, vital, alive again all because I had my ipod watch. I was still just another turd in the festering heap, but I was a turd with a new toy.
Then came the crushing weight of truth. Which was that I had bought a fucking iPod.
Let this be known. Ipods suck ass and a lot of it. I shall explain why because, who knows, you may still be reading this.
To put music on your ipod you have to use a thing called iTunes, which is designed to make the process as infuriating as possible. I will let the white man from Britain tell it. Charlie Brooker:
Microsoft gets a lot of stick for producing clunky software. But even during the dark days of the animated paperclip, or the infuriating “.docx” Word extension, they never shat out anything as abominable as iTunes – a hideous binary turd that transforms the sparkling world of music and entertainment into a stark, unintuitive spreadsheet.
He is understating how frustrating it is. I spent an entire day loading the music onto the machine. Because the first time you do it you are going to find that you loaded a Windows Media File that won’t play, and when you try to delete it, you end up deleting every single thing, and having to start again, and then you make another mistake and don’t realise it until it is too late, and four hours have passed, and the Sheryl Crow album is not there, and you can’t just add it without freaking grabbing everything and starting again and AAAAAAARGHHH!!
By nine pm I was done, furious with iTunes, but relieved, thinking, after all, that the iPod was full. I would never have to load it again. The rest of my music is going on a better MP3 player. At least now I had one.
The next day I hit town with my new music. No, I didn’t have the watch-pod ensemble because that, too, had been a disappointment. You see, what the internet photo had not told me was how massive the thing is once assembled. It looks like swagg. It looks like for Gs. It looks like something Chris Brown and Tyga would wear. If I wear it people will expect me to also have skinny jeans that only go up to my knees, sunglasses that stay on indoors at night, a fanatical love for “Weezy” and an unconscionable attitude towards women. I could not wear that watch strap.
It’s in a drawer. We shall not speak of it again.
At least, at least I had my 16GB of music on tap. Clipped to my waist. Right there.
So I get a ride to Garden City with my homette (shoutouts). As we get out of the car, the clip snaps open and the ipod falls two feet from my hip to the ground.