The End

“We don’t do any other sizes but the standard one.”

This the response I recieved from the man behind the counter at the pret i’m currently seated in. I had asked for a mega sized hazelnut both pointing to the amount of time I was going to spend in the cafe writing this article, but also a reflection of the sigh I needed after my ordeal at the apple store.

The winter of 2008 was one of fresh self discovery, I had just spent a good year out of university and was at the begining of the course in creative writing that I had enroled on. My first two years of University were spent trying to study Aerospace engineering, a dream that was not mine though carried as though it was. ‘Who would care about English as a subject when the whole world spoke it?’. This the question that tethered me to the mast while the sirens (Sassoon, Wordsworth, Plath, Coleridge, Armitage, amongst many others) called out to me with the sweet melody of prose: where words and their signifiers danced effortlessly with philosophy and sentience. I had made the break, unhooked the tether and embarked on the journey that ultimately finds me here.

Convinced that I needed it for the study, and happy with the new found sense of self, I walked into an apple store in search of a character defining machine. I didn’t care so much for reasoning, all I wanted was something that was mine for no other reason than I wanted it. That was when I saw her. Her black skin, like my own, in the vast sea of white, stood out against the backdrop of light wood, glass and whitewash walls. She was crisp, open, and calling. I was thirsty for what she oozed and was almost mystically drawn to the potential of what we could achieve once twined. I chose her, paid for her (think what you will of me, she was mine for the taking and needed liberation). Pleased with my purchase, I carried the white bag – it’s emblem (the bitten apple) speaking volumes about the sense of internal indignation mixed with excitement that coursed with the adrenaline through my capillaries.

These five odd years since then have passed quickly. Countless lecture notes, short films, articles, and a dissertation have been mused and written in her presence. I had to forgive my little sister for breaking her screen (which proved very expensive to replace) and recently my wife for liberating one of her keys. Slowly, and almost inevitably, she grew old and weary. Her contemporaries died and were replaced by new models but she pressed on: I persevered with her (loyal). Even when the thinner younger version was made available (ipad2), I still did the bulk of my work with her.

So it was with a deep sadness that I brought her in to the store for a final repair and received the words ”won’t be worth fixin’ mate” from the ‘genius behind the bar’ (there is plenty I could say about the ill treatment I recieved in the apple store but that would be undignifying for the moment). Mourning and indignant, I wrapped her in the bag they gave me, unwilling to let her be seen in their store, held her close and gently carried her to the car – where she rests till we get back home.

….

How existential can one get about a computer dying?

….

I may be the only one who has particular points to which they can pin the beginning of a positive change in their lives. What I contemplate now as I have the last sips of what is a cold late (thanks to this long post) is the death of a symbol. My Macbook was, and represented, the break from homogeny. It presents (presented – sad times) the moment I took stock of the uniqueness of my fingerprint, the moment I realised I had a voice to explore and discover, the moment I became Adide (in all it’s complexities known or unknown). Her slow death, which has began, represents an end: the end of my physical tether to that pinpoint (it evaporates into a memory – unreliable as that is).

As I type this on my iPad, she sits in a cold boot. I sit in a warm cafe. A catalyst to my becoming shed as in the stages of rocket launch. It is a sad moment that is coupled to a wellspring of hope.

I leave you now so that I may grieve. Hopefully to return happier.

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The Pangs of Desire

This has been quite an interesting two weeks, thus my silence. I have encountered a whole host of people who are either unaware of the ill they do, or are aware and ignore the voice of conscience. Ok, I wont stand here and judge like I never disobey what my conscience says or even claim to have never caused any harm by my disobedience so take this toasted lament with a pinch of salt, a hint of pepper and some Marmite (which I hate by the way).

You are always righteous, O LORD, when I bring a case before you. Yet I would speak with you about your justice: Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all the faithless live at ease?

Jeremiah 12:1

The question that has been marinating in my heart is this. Do the wicked have no conscience or is its voice dimmed?

In my own life I’ve found it quite hard to make a cup of tea for myself without offering one to whoever was around me. I struggled to eat the last biscuit in the pack, and used to buy two chocolate bars so that when asked I had one to share. I try to do what I can to be a positive in people’s lives. This is quite difficult as my desire is to serve myself, thus wrought for others seems vain. My conscience however, loud as a drum, kicks in and wrangles with my self-centeredness whenever I turn away from serving others.

This moreover is a world full of people who can be ungrateful, and utterly selfish with no regard for their neighbour’s wellbeing, and seemingly get away with it. This makes the whole turn the other cheek thing tough; not because the other person is relentless but because deep down I wish I could get away with doing what they are doing. This is at the core of my complaint. It is such a devastating lens focused onto my own depravity: that it isn’t against the wicked that I lament but a desire at very center of my heart to be one. I genuinely love God and would like to think that my actions in line with His will are rooted in a love for Him rather than a fear of my actions’ consequences. But that root isn’t as straight forward as I find as similar a mystery as is the nature of Grace at the core of my desires.

I honestly do wish I could get away with half of what I have seen people do this week and am – like Jeremiah – complaining about it. At the same time, I know how harmful selfishness can be and am – in a small part – grateful that I know I wont actually get away with it. It doesn’t stop it being painful to witness, neither does it make doing good easier.

Our faith is difficult one. I suppose if you aren’t grappling with it constantly then you’re either almost in heaven or most certainly angelic. It’s answer to the pangs of desire is to ask us to pursue someone else’s: God’s. This doesn’t stop them from being pangs. I suppose the idea of ‘carrying a cross and following Jesus’ is this sense of doing something difficult for a cause that transcends our own. It’s a noble thought that like a drop of water skims the surface of a furnace almost mocking the hope of dousing the flames.

Evidently I am in complain mode so I will not put my positive thoughts. (Out of disobedience because I hear and feel the answers to my complaint: take what you will from that.)