Maybe I was being the unreasonable one. I have a six year old computer, and I wanted a cord that attaches it to a TV. (We don’t own a TV; it’s so I can show pictures to family. That’s irrelevant though.) I assumed that Bozeman, my hometown a half-hour west of where I live now, would be the place we’d find such a thing. It has stores of every size and shape. First we checked two office supply/ electronic places, no luck. I’m sure there were other places to check that I didn’t know about, but I was only motivated for one pass through town, and then I wanted to get the hell out of there. So our last hope was the Apple store. When we walked in I had no doubt we’d find one: the walls were covered with cords. But as I started looking, I was surprised to find that all the rows of cords were the exact same. They were just different colors. When I got the attention of one of the affected teenagers working there, and told him how old my computer was, he said “we don’t carry vintage parts.” His word choice struck me. Sure, he must’ve been in junior high when I bought the computer. But aren’t these things supposed to be built to last? What does everybody else do, when they wake up one day to find six years passed, and their new computer has become vintage? (I deflected a sixteen year old’s derision of my “flip-phone” recently by convincing him the Bozeman Computer Museum is trying to buy it off me for a lot of money. I got the phone four years ago.) Back in Livingston, the other day, Jen saw a hole-in-the-wall electronics shop that we hadn’t noticed before. The kind of shop that doesn’t have to advertise that it’s “locally owned.” The guy went out of his way to help her. They found the cord. He had a few of them—“for newer models,” he said.

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