On the radio of C's car, the weather people told us that a big storm was on its way, and that people ought to stay inside. Killer dust. Big winds. A white horse. Jesus. You know how it is. There is a bit of a breeze when we step out of the car and walk into the store. It's empty inside. Well, not totally empty. After a few minutes of looking around, unable to find what I want, I locate an employee and say to him, "I'm looking for a cable to hook a notebook to a flatscreen tv."
Employee One scratches his cheek. "Is that a HDDTV from HDDTV?"
"Um. I'm pretty sure it's just a cable. Pins, y'know?"
He begins to lead me through the store. "What you want is a HDDTV to HDDTV cable, or maybe a DTV to DTV cable. Perhaps even a DTV to HDDTV?"
"Joke," I say. "Sorry."
We are in a section with cables now. I look. He looks. "I don't see it. I think we need a proper computer person. Let me find one."
He is gone before I say anything. I look again at the cables. C looks at the cables. I say, "I don't think the cable I want is here," and he agrees, but before we can leave Employee One arrives with Employee Two, who has really big sideburns. I am mesmerised by these sideburns. They cover half his head, in the way that ear flaps on caps that Canadians wear cover their heads. When Employee Two speaks, however, he reveals himself to have a very loud voice. The word, I think, is bombastic. He points to cables that C and I have just looked at, and he says, "That's the HDDTV to HDDTV, which you don't want. That's the DTV to HDDTV, and you don't want that either--or do you?"
"It's just a small connection--fifteen pins." I pause. "I figured this would be a simple thing?"
"The problem is that technology is totally out of our control now. We hang on to it by our ability to give everything a quick acronym so that you, the commoner, might be able to understand what it does, but in truth, technology is beyond you--follow me, will you?" He begins walking and, with a shrug, C and I follow. "Every year something new comes out, and we struggle to reduce it to a quick, easy to spit out definition. HDDTV. DDTV. DTV. BSTV. AATV. TVAAABBDD. We struggle in the computer business to apply these labels. We're not here for words. We're here for the technology and it needs not your words. See this at the back of the TV here: this is a HDDTV slot. Do you have one of those? No. You have one of these smaller ones, right. Yes. The fifteen pin. Good. Good. That way you don't need HDDTV. See, HDDTV is new technology, with an acronym that is kind of unwieldy, and which most people want to reduce to GV. Why GV? I have no idea. I'm not involved in the planning. Their are meetings, but I don't got to them. By the way, your friend appears to have left."
He was right. I could see C, in the distance, walking out of the store. Later, he would tell me he wanted a sandwich. He really wanted a sandwich, he said. I would find him, shortly, eating a sandwich, the wind from the storm of death having picked up around him and a white horse will be nuzzling his arm, looking for a bit of his sandwich but, ignoring it, he would look happy.
But I couldn't leave.
"Do you have the cable I'm looking for?" I ask, making one last attempt, having to see it to the end.
"It's not the HDDTV cable?" Which might be a mistake. I think: If I cut off the sideburns, would anyone care? Girlfriend? Boyfriend? I could never pick the way someone went, really. Still, if I held him down, if I cut them off, if I did it while screaming This is My RAZOR would anyone stop me? Oblivious to my thoughts, he says, "Because you don't want a HDDTV cable, I don't think."
Distracted, I say, "I just a want a pin thing, man."
"Right." And he leads me back to the cables that I was at before, and he looks, and I think about asking about straight razors, but he says, "No, it's not here. Try another store," and I am, suddenly, left alone.