The meal, however, was a mere prelude to the action of the day: buying Irene another computer.
It is always a delight to see people other than my good self-indulging in repeat purchases of the same item. Because of course, the item is never exactly the same. You can buy, for example, watches – but the delight is buying a timepiece which is unlike the previous one in some way or other. They may have the same function, but they display different design solutions to encapsulate those problems solved.
Having seen what appeared to be an excellent buy in a less than excellent shop, both Toni and I were eager for someone (anyone) to buy it. The it in question was a 10.1” laptop computer with 500GB hard disk and other bits and pieces, together with a touch sensitive screen. And all in an attractive package at a more than attractive price. Luckily Irene appeared just when it appeared more and more likely that I would have to buy the damn thing for myself!
Irene was immediately smitten with the machine and even bought a more than stylish bag to go with it. All for €300 and a bit.
Toni leapt into action and helped Irene set the machine up and, after the usual frustrations, without which you could never be sure that you had bought an authentic Windows machine, it was ready to go. Toni, with the Puritan insistence of a born-again-program-for-freer also installed Open Office via our Wi-Fi and the machine was fully operational.
I have a universally recognized knack of getting other people to spend their money. In a different life I am sure that I would have been a totally unscrupulous entrepreneur, but in this one I am merely a vicarious expenditure fiend, feeding off the spendthriftiness of others.
It is very hard to see others enjoying the delights of purchasing up to the moment electronic equipment, especially of the computer variety, without thinking back over the vast sums of money that one has spent over the years and the development of these infernal machines and then thinking how unfair it all is that someone today can spend a fraction of the total sum of money that I have spent and get substantially more for their money.
I still remember buying a laser printer which cost (in those days) four hundred quid. I must have been insane! The only thing that it did was print pages of type. Nicely admittedly, but solely. And the cost of the cartridges was unbelievable. Where is that machine now? Junked! The double sided printer that I have downstairs does everything other than fold the paper into neat origami shapes, has a colour touch screen, individual ink colours, is Wi-Fi operated and links to god knows what media – and cost a quarter of the amount for the laser printer.
As Toni keeps telling me, as if it were an insult, I am a prime example of a buyer caught up in planned obsolescence idiocy. To which I reply that virtually everything I have is Mac and Apple which shows, to say the least, a certain imperviousness to commercial masochism.
Tomorrow is weigh-day and I have no high expectations from that event. I have not been able to go swimming for a couple of days and have been told that the pool will remain out of action until Monday at least! So much for their protestations of speedy clear up! I will therefore be able to blame my lack of loss on the unreliability of pool management. There is always someone who can take the rap other than oneself! And anyway, there are other weeks for fat evaporation until April Fools’ Day and the final weigh in this part of the Great Experiment.