They say ‘You learn something new every day’. Most days, unless I’ve spent my morning in front of the Lifestyle channel or flicking through the latest issue of House and Garden, I think this statement is a load of… let’s run with… poo. This holiday season however proved very educational, starting with my Christmas present to myself.
After pining for over a year for a new dark blue (I have a nautical theme going in my house, it had to blend in) Yamaha MCR-040 sound system, I’d grown tired of trying the usual hi-fi shops and department stores. If they’d stocked it at all they had it only in black, black and blacker. Disappointing given it’s made in nearly a dozen colours (that’s right people, I live in Melbourne and I said the word ‘colours’). I was about to give up on getting my cute little three-part toy that plays CDs, MP3, iPods, FM radio, and everything else that sound like it’s from Star Wars and can be loaded onto a USB stick, all while being rather pretty, when I realised that if I could now buy a double packet of TimTams from Amazon.com, maybe it was worth typing my pretty stereo code into the search bar and seeing what happens. I hit the ENTER button and there it was. I had to take a moment and let the good will of globalisation flood over my consumer driven life. I even got to pick the colour… and it was $100 cheaper than anywhere in Oz. Good thing I already had a glass of champagne in hand or I would have had to crack a bottle. With a click, click, click, my pretty stereo would arrive at my door in less than two weeks. Merry Christmas to me! I would never have to sit and cringe again at Princess Lipgloss’s chocolatey, slightly intoxicated, fingers pawed my blue-ray player and she mumbled, ‘Wher da I put the iPod in, we sheed shome shoons’. And I was getting it in dark blue. More bubbles? Why, yes please.
Just as they said it would be, on Jan 3rd, I came home to find my new stereo waiting at my door. I dragged it inside and put it on the kitchen bench, got out the big scissors and just before I started cutting, took a big deep breath. I was so excited, it was like having my birthday six months early. Over a year of searching and waiting, and here it was. Breathe out, and CUT!
It was perfect, the perfect shade of blue, the perfect size, the perfect solution to my audio needs. All I had to do was hook-up the speakers, simple enough – red wire in the red bit black wire in the black bit, repeat – then plug it in and play… And that’s when my learning curve started, with a great deep THOOP, when I turned the power on.
For all of those that didn’t study electro-physics at school, allow me to explain, what I learnt that day… all the be careful what you wish for, and don’t ever get too excited about a possession rubbish aside… Americans can’t trust their desperate housewives not to take the hair dryer into the bath with them accidentally on purpose and turn themselves into a crispy fry, so household electricity in the States is capped at a measly 125V. No wonder it takes then an hour to get ready in the morning. Here in the great land on Oz, with a firm belief in the power of natural selection, we carry a whopping 240V point to point. So dear Princesses, when you plug an American stereo into an Australian home, it’s kind of like trying to run a moped on rocket fuel. Luckily for me, my stereo is not only pretty but smart, and has a built-in fuse. After trying half a dozen different shops I finally found a fuse I could use to replace the fried one, oddly at an autoparts store. I then spent that $100 I’d saved on buying a big ugly (at least it’s white and blends into the wall) step-down power converter. So, after spending an entire year wanting it, and an entire day fixing it, I finally had it back together, plugged it in and when I turned the power on this time I gritted my teeth and crossed my fingers. I don’t think I exhaled until ‘Hello’, began scrolling across the little black screen. SUCCESS!
It was only when I went to attach my iPod and crank out a good happy dance to Carrie Underwood that I truly learnt the day’s lesson. You see my iPod had decided that with all the attention the pretty new stereo was getting it would have a hissyfit and now fails hold a charge and only works if it’s plugged into wall-through the same port you need to use to connect it to the very pretty stereo. What did I learn that day? Technology sucks. Luckily CDs don’t need batteries.