About two years ago, when not one month had passed since I had entered the US, I once got a free bike from CU Boulder’s Bike Station. It’s a great service where any student or faculty member can rent a bike for forty-eight hours, for free. Since it was time to return it, I cycled up to the UMC, near which the bike station sits under a large tree. As I was returning the bike, it started to rain. Afraid for the newly bought iPhone in my pocket, I went into the shed and hid from the rain. Two guys were working at the station that day. The one on the inside showed me a Lenovo laptop that was basically everything proof – shock, water and temperature. It was given to the bike station specifically because it faces all the elements on nature all the time.
The other fellow had been working in the rain all the time, fixing bikes. After the rain subsided a bit, I went out to talk to him. Apparently, he wasn’t too concerned about getting sick in the rain. While talking to him, I noticed that he’d been listening to music all the while he was talking. I asked him about it and he said, “Yeah, I have an iPod in my pocket.” I asked him about the headphones he was wearing. They were the Apple $25 ones that I had hidden in my bag, safely tucked away from the rain or my entanglement in my jeans pocket. His headphones had beads of water on them just like the rest of his face. He just shrugged and said, “They’re just these cheap ones. Just twenty-five bucks. Plus I’ve had them a long time. So if they stop working I’ll just go get new ones.” Quickly, my fresh-off-the-boat mind calculated the cost of the headphones in rupees. They had cost about 1250 rupees. That was a lot of money for headphones and then to treat them so badly? I rationalized that the ones I had were free with my iPhone, which itself was subsidized because I bought it with a two-year AT&T contract. But I would never treat them like this, wearing them in the rain.
Recently, after getting thoroughly convinced by my brother that the Earpods are amazing, one day, strolling through the twenty-ninth street with my friend, I walked into the Apple Store and picked up a pair of Earpods. I quickly took out my credit card and paid the store employee with it. As I walked out of the shop, this whole thought stuck in my head. I have come a long way from my FOB calculating and getting shocked at the prices here in the US. I quickly learned not to multiply but take things at face value. I have come a long way from that boy standing in the rain, looking at the guy fixing bikes while listening to music.
Today, while cleaning my bathroom, I just felt the need to listen to some music, so I brought out those old headphones and plugged them in. I listened to music all through the manual labor and enjoyed every minute of it. Many times, the cable came into contact with water but of course, that doesn’t matter. But I was really not afraid at all because I had those magnificent new earpods sitting somewhere safe. I didn’t worry because I have the buying power that I once never thought was possible. I am now, the guy fixing bicycles in the rain.