You can’t always get what you want

What is it about certain objects that makes us covet them more than other things?

Why, for example, would you covet a Cath Kidston duvet cover over another similar but unbranded floral duvet cover? Sometimes we can justify our desires based on functionality – like wanting a Dyson not a Henry, because it has better suction – but sometimes there is no rhyme or reason to it.

I like to think that I’m not often drawn in by the lure of labels. I’m a bit more make-do-and-mend and just about from a generation that wasn’t so commercially motivated. Just.

But sometimes, sometimes… the desire to own a coveted object, with all its mysterious fascination becomes too much.

My laptop is dying, a slow and protracted death. I’m caring for it the best I can, fluffing its pillows, regularly treating it for viruses and turning it over so it doesn’t get bedsores, but it’s only a matter of time. So I decided I would buy a Macbook to replace it.

A beautiful, sleek-lined Macbook. I had succumbed to its allure.
CC was heading to New York, and asked if I wanted her to buy anything while she was out there. She was willing so I commissioned her to visit the Apple store in the States, where the object of my desire is cheaper. I transferred the money to her account, gave her a laptop case and the plan was all settled.

A couple of days into her trip she texted me to inform me that the Macbook had been purchased. Yes! A couple more days and I would no longer be waiting six hours for my computer to boot up, I would no longer be as susceptible to viruses, I would no longer have to connect to the internet using a wire. No. I would be a Mac owner.

Unfortunately, as so often happens when I give in to my consumerist urges, it all went horribly and inexplicably wrong. CC put the laptop in the hotel safe and when she came to collect it before leaving for her flight, the Mac had been stolen from out of the bag.

She was upset, and I felt bad for making her feel responsible for something so frivolous. She handed over the bag to me, complete with the world’s most expensive power cable, worth the princely sum of $1000. Even the power cable has something beautiful and alluring about it.

The world's most expensive power cable and plastic bag


Sigh. The story won’t end there, since there’s crime reports to file and insurance claims to pursue.

What I wanted was a Macbook. But what I need is CC’s kind of friendship, the kind that goes out of its way, to almost ridiculous, and in this case, slightly traumatic lengths for you, without question. That’s hardcore friendship.

You can’t always get what you want. But if you try, you might, get what you need.

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