06 June 2006

The Lamest Girl in the Whole Wide Store

I hate going to the Apple Store. I had to take my boss’ iPod to the SoHo store today. Everybody (and I mean everybody) there is cooler than me. The toddler in her tiny Ramones shirt and even tinier Converse shoes. The Orthodox woman in her ochre headscarf and her incredibly of-the-moment green colored accessories. Let alone the stylishly pierced, tattooed and tussled members of the various downtown techno- liter- grunge glitter- atti.

And so, when I sat down to wait for my turn at the Genius Bar and pulled out my book, I could feel every person in the store move away from me slightly. As if book reading was a symptom of the fabled bird flu. Or, even more likely, that my true geekiness could infect their cool faux-geekiness, thereby rendering it actually un-cool rather than seemingly un-cool and thus actually cool.

Feeling like an outcast among those who are ostensibly outcasts is decidedly bizarre. The fact is, the iPod people are just the same as the popular kids in highschool. They’re spectacularly addicted to scenesterism, the now, and fads to a degree that would be considered parodic if applied to highschool students, but is actually real. They’re cliquish in ways that can only be described as absurd among adults and like the popular kids in highschool they may or may not actually have money, but they flaunt what they do have.

And the fact that I like a lot of the same music, covet the same gadgets, operate in the same sphere of intellectual irony (the things which seem to be the signposts they themselves use to identify their own) and still operate as an outsider makes me wonder if that is my default position. If in fact I couldn’t be a member of a group if I tried. Or even more importantly, if I wanted to.


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