I was meeting someone. I had seen him only last year. We were going to meet at the Apple Store on Regent’s Street. I’d never been there before. I walked down after University. I’d bought a nice new green leather jacket in the January sales and although I wasn’t troubled by the cold, I was astonished at how bad it actually was. I could feel it through the leather and even through my gloves. London seemed more crowded than ever because I hadn’t been there for a time now.
I walked into the store and noticed straight away that everyone was huddled around the laptop section as they could get free internet access there. One lady stood by the glass staircase attending to her baby. I decided to go and stand next to her and keep a lookout for my friend.
The security guard stared at me. I walked about, staring at my watch every so often. Everyone was crouched over some technological artefact. Everyone seemed to be really young. Even though it was quite crowded, the space was imposing. It felt sort of empty, warehouse like. All around, I was surrounded by whiteness.
I got bored so stepped outside. I saw my friend straight away. He’d been waiting for me out there. He was on his I-Phone. We shook hands and went in. He was getting a phone repaired for someone. He showed me the screen. It was locked into some pixellated hell. We sat on a wooden bench waiting for service. They seemed to have missed his name off, so it took a bit of time. I noted to my friend that this was a good place to meet women. There were definitely some lookers there. The guy eventually came for my friend and we sat around at a ‘genius bar’ for a while. It really was just like sitting at a bar, except they were serving I-Phones instead of us. I noted to my friend that the place was like an insane cross between an office and a museum. Eventually, they gave him a substitute phone after messing around for a while. It was so shiny in the light.
My friend wanted to buy some film screens for some of his other friends so we picked up a packet. He had an enquiry so we waited patiently to see a guy. My friend had told me that these guys here just walked around and you could call them over to pay. It wasn’t like a regular shop. We waited a while. We finally saw a guy. He was surrounded by attractive middle-aged women buying phone accessories for their children. His name was Jerry, a name my friend didn’t like very much. Jerry was chatting to a dark-haired and dark-eyed beauty with shapely cheekbones, a shorter haircut and a black coat. She seemed faintly Italian. She finally finished her round of questions after telling Jerry she was going to recommend his name when she paid for the goods. My friend got the details off Jerry, a guy our same age and we went downstairs to pay. I was telling my friend how the Apple Store was like the face of the new London and in future everyone would be meeting up here all the time like us. The Italian-looking lady was standing in front of us and kept on turning around to look at me and stare at my jacket. A guy with a handheld machine for cards walked over to us so we didn’t have to queue. He was wearing a very very nice watch. Everything was so sparkly here because of all the lights.
We walked back down to Oxford Circus to go back home. The whole world seemed smaller than the Apple Store, darker. My friend smoked a cigarette. By the time we walked down the stairs and got the escalator down the Italian Lady from before was standing behind us. She was looking at me. I wondered if she had remembered to mention Jerry at the pay counter.