Thursday, March 31, 2011

Moccasins, meet iPad

So, I got an iPad. iPad 2, to be precise.

But let me tell you, it was no easy feat.

It started just over a week ago. My parents returned from their trip to Las Vegas and my mom told me she bought me a present while they were there. So I showed up at my parents house, expected to be met with the usual: a t-shirt, maybe some jewelry. You can imagine my surprise when I opened the bag to find an iPad! And yes, also a conference t-shirt.

"Why did you get me this?" I couldn't help but ask. My parents always got me great gifts... for my birthday, Christmas and graduation. I didn't often get such an amazing gift unattached to any occasion.

"Because you're such a great daughter," my mom said, huge smile on her face. [Insert awww here.]

The iPad (first generation) also came with a gift certificate so that I could exchange and upgrade to the iPad 2.

I waited for iPad release day (Friday, March 25, 2011) with baited breath. I left work at 3 p.m. to get in line for the 5 p.m. release time.

The line up won't be so bad, I told myself. After all, this is Ottawa, not New York City or L.A.

And, of course, I was wrong. The line up stretched down the hall, through a long corridor that lead to a ramp - outdoors. But I was so excited I didn't mind. I tried to pass the time by reading my book, "The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao," and catching up on phone calls.

Eventually I made some line-up friends. A guy buying two iPads for himself and his wife; a woman with an e-book reader looking to upgrade her technology; and a lovey-dovey university couple getting matching iPads. The line continued to grow and the male half of the couple was interviewed by the local Ottawa news station. As soon as the line started to compress and we made it inside, the excitement begun. The Apple staff hyped up the crowd at around 4:50 by running to the back of the line, shouting and clapping in t-shirts, then running back into the store.

At around 5:45 I made it to the front of the line. A guy was giving out tickets to reserve the iPads and I got a ticket for exactly the one I wanted: a 16GB white iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G. I was met at the front door and matched with my salesman, and in the span of a few seconds he had my iPad in hand and I'd picked out my baby blue Smart Cover and SIM card.

"I'm tax exempt," I declared, and I could see the brief annoyance cross his face. I hesitated, "And I have to do an exchange. And to make things more complicated, it was purchased in the U.S."

"You can't exchange it in Canada," he said quickly.

I felt the air knocked out of me. As dramatic as it might sound, it felt as if my world was crashing down on me. The anticipation had been building all week, and increased four-fold as I waited in line. I left the Apple store completely dejected. My mom met me for pad Thai (ironically) as a consolation, and I felt horrible being so depressed about her wonderful gift.

"I have a confession," she said suddenly. "I didn't buy the iPad. I won it at a conference."

And we laughed. Laughed until tears stung our eyes.

This still didn't change the fact that I wanted an iPad 2! After hours (literally) deliberating with my mom over how to exchange the iPad within the two week exchange period, my boyfriend, R.J., said to me, "Let's just hop in the car and drive to Syracuse." That's why I love him.

Cut to 2:30 a.m. Saturday, March 26.

We wake up, groggy but slightly excited. Stop at my mom's to pick up a thermos of coffee and scrambled egg sandwiches. Stop to pick up R.J.'s younger brother, Fur, who decided to accompany us on this spontaneous road trip. And we were on our way to upstate New York.

After a Dunkin Donuts pitstop and a few early morning laughs, we arrived at the Apple store in Syracuse's Carosel Mall. As we'd been warned by the salesman my mom spoke to on the phone the previous night, there was already a lineup at 6:30 a.m. I was tenth in line. I knew I had good chance, but that there was no guarantee.

9 a.m. rolled around and out came the ticket man. My heart rate sped up a little, recalling the experience only hours earlier.

When the ticket man came to me he said, "We only have 64GBs left." My heart sunk. I knew it was much more expensive and that I had to make a quick decision.

"I'll take it!" I said. What the heck? I'd waited in two line ups for a total of over 5 hours and was making a 6 hour roundtrip. Surely nearly 12 hours of my life is worth an extra 48GBs? (I bet none of our ancestors in moccasins thought we'd ever be using such a measurement.)

So I left the store with my black 64GB Wi-Fi + 3G (la creme de la creme), baby blue Smart Cover and Apple Care. And I haven't looked back.

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