In Which Our Hero is Defeated by an Evil but Quite Nice and Effective Multi-National Corporation.

The title says it all really.

The ghetto-subway station was kind of awkward on the ride back, as it was me and a guy with some squash rackets for white people in the station and between the two of us I don’t know who was honkier.

I was on my way back from an afternoon of post-hangover ESPN (unusual) and regressive nerdy behavior with some cool-nerdos from back in the day.

The day of gaming had left me somewhat incapacitated. Though I had once had a profound lack of ability to tell what sinuses were, I felt a tingling somewhere near the front of my face and a strange wooziness, probably resultant from my encounter with an amorous cat in Rob’s house.

It was Rob, the owner of the house/foreclosed insurance brokerage we were gaming in, who had advised me not to take out my iPhone in the 21 Street-Queensbridge F station, but really, sadly, the iPhone gave me a sense of security and something to concentrate on other than my sense of racial tension.

It was then I noticed that my iPhone headphones were broken, strangely, in such a way that the left speaker would not play any sound, but the little “mini-surround” upper-speaker on that same headphone would. This caused much jostling and sideways-ear-sticking on the ride home from Queens and built in me a determination: I was going to go give Apple a piece of mind.

After all, this was actually the second pair of iPhone apple headphones I’d bought. I mean, the first ones had worked for like 6-8 months, but I had just bought this new pair a month prior. Scandal! Outrage! New headphones were 29 dollars and I wouldn’t stand for such extortion. I rounded up my friends and token Asians, Matt Chao and Kent Hu to go and storm the Apple store like one might storm the Bastille!

But then we were kind of hungry so we went to Pluck U.

Pluck U is a cheap-ola chicken-place over on campus which specializes in “Buffalo-ing” things. Wings, Fingers, Boneless Wings, Cold Pieces of Turkey, Veggie-Soy Wings, Grilled Chicken, Sammies–you name it; they’ll buffalo it.

I got them to Buffalo my “Fresh Chicken Sandwich” ($4.25) and had that with the medium from their list of sauces. The lady by the counter seemed somewhere between bemused and annoyed at my indecisiveness trying to figure out whether Buffalo sauce might clash with mayo or oil and vinegar, before she reminded me that the sandwich had Buffalo sauce on it–no other sauce was required.

The sandwich was yummy, fried and indeed, covered in Buffalo sauce and came with some decent lettuce on a seeded hamburger-bun. What’s more, the price was right and after stealing some wings from Chao, who is the sort of guy who leaves nothing remaining of his wings but clean, polished bones, we were off to the Apple store, to give them a piece of our minds, to declare war on shitty headphones and flashy silhouetted musical numbers!

But then we wanted Ice Cream.

Emack and Bolio’s was on the way after all and none of us were really in a hurry. I mean it was like, still light out. And stuff.

Emack’s is a Bostonian chain and thus I suppose I should bear great hatred towards them, but the fact remains: it’s some damn good ice cream. I got a scoop of “The Original Oreo” on a wafer (not sugar) cone ($4.00) and ate it up in several bites. My friends got some Butter Pecan and another flavor that slipped my mind. The Oreos were whole, embalmed and embedded in the cookies-and-cream ice-cream and the consistency was somewhere between Gelato and Edy’s Homestyle; light, but just about creamy.

Still, anyone who calls a milkshake a “frappe” should go hang themselves out by the front porch.

But not before they serve me, thank you, that was very good.

When we finally ended up at the Apple store, we were set (and full).

I went up with full spead and bearing to the friendly-looking lady in the orange shirt.

“Hello.” I told her. “My name is Nick.”

“Hi Nick.” she said warmly.

“Hello.” I responded.

An awkward pause.

“Well, so I bought these headphones from your store a month or so ago and, um. They don’t work. So, they are like the second pair I bought after the first one broke.”

“Oh no.” She commented sympathetically.

“Yeah,” I offered. “So, I was thinking you could exchange them.”

She smiled.

“Well, you know what, I’m sorry to tell you this…”

The wind-up.

“But you didn’t have to go buying them. We exchange them here for free. We’re actually out of the old headphones, so how about we just give you a brand new pair with an upgrade for free. Just go skip the line over there and we’ll have them for you in a second.”

I was near-instantly given a set of new headphones, these ones with a microphone and a new innovative remote that controlled volume, song choice and answering and ending calls. All with the click of a handy near-neck button.

And then I was out the door, dumbstruck.

In a minute-thirty flat, I had gone from a mild, but inspiring outrage, to something cool and free in my hands standing stupidly outside the door.

It was all anti-climax. And my Asian entourage abandoned me. Chao was off to see his Grandma from Hong Kong. Kent couldn’t Wii since he had a script to write. I was Asian-less.

What’s worse, I was enthralled by the new headset. I could press once to pause a song or play a song or pick up a call or end a call. Twice to skip a song. Three times in succession to go back one. I played with it as I walked home. I called my father to tell him how cool it was.

The failure was utter and complete.

I couldn’t even have a proper walk of shame. I was too thrilled. As I played “American Girl” followed by “The Only Living Boy in New York” and skipped the BeeGees for some Jeffrey Lewis, I forgot that I had been vanquished by an evil, sleek, hip multi-national corporation and that I was it’s tool.

But at least now I could enjoy those cool commercials with the silhouettes.

But my sinuses tingled in remorse.

***

PLUCK U

“Buffalo-ed Fresh Chicken Sandwich”- $4.25

Thompson St bet Bleecker and West 3rd.

ACEBDFV to West 4th.

EMACK AND BOLIO’S

“The Original Oreo” in a Wafer cone- $4.00

Houston between West Broadway and Wooster.

BDFV6 to Broadway-Lafayette.

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