There is a horse in the Apple Store and no one sees it but me.
I think, “Why?” What is the villain here that blinds all of these people to this situation? Am I nuts for thinking this is exceptional? Does anyone else see this? Did I accidentally drop acid and not realize? I must take a photo. I must verify later, when I’m not potentially tripping balls.
I think, “Would they notice if it were a tiger?” Or a lamb? Or an anaconda? What would it take to shake the haze from around their eyes? A sale sign? A new iPod Touch? Would they notice a new iPod Touch?
Are they just divinely focused? Are they meditating in a retail environment? Are they distracted by something shiny? There is so much shiny in the Apple Store. Is it enough to distract everyone from the little tiny horse that is at the Genius Bar?
Can horses type? Probably not. But, you know, that clip-clop sound that their hooves make sounds an awful lot like the clip-clop sound my fingers make when I’m writing. I like that sound: it denotes progress. I wish we would still ride horses, because then we could have a sound we associate with progress and getting closer to somewhere we want to be. I didn’t know where I wanted to be, but I was glad I was here. Because there is a horse in the Apple Store.
I made a lame joke in my mind about how the horse is there, but it’s not the one wearing the blinders. And
then I pictured what would happen if the horse pooped in the middle of the floor of the Apple Store, because I am nine. I laugh to myself. The woman next to me looks up from the 17″ laptop in a judgmental fashion, probably because she could feel the immaturity radiate out of my body. She looks back down and Facebook looks back at her. “Great, the one thing she notices is me being a moron.”
Play it cool, Frank. Play it cool.
THERE IS A LITTLE PONY IN THE APPLE STORE. What the hell? A beautiful little pony, with a flowing mane, the likes of which my sister would have killed to get for Christmas when she was 7 or 8. And, NO ONE is looking at this thing. I wondered: if there were kids in the Apple Store, would they notice? “Yes,” I say. “Yes, they would.” Kids have a magnetic connection to animals. But there are no children in the Apple Store, for the same reason you would not see a child in a jewelery store: things are small and fragile and expensive and shiny. And if you have a child, you probably can not afford Apple products.
But, if a child were here, they would see the pony, because when you’re a kid, you notice everything, because everything is new. My niece is like this. “Did you see that that dog loves that other dog because they got their leashes tangled up outside and then they laid down beside one another?” Or, “Once you have a baby, you can’t put it back, can you?” Or, “When I play hide and seek with my friends I have to hide, but if I don’t want to be seen by grown-ups I just have to be quiet.”
And maybe that’s what the horse is doing. Not a sound. But, there it is.
An employee comes over to help me. I’m buying a new laptop today. I ask him questions about the differences between the 15″ and the 17″. Could I get a matte screen? I hate the shininess. He shoots me down. “Okay, about the processing speed, is the…”
“OH MY GOD, THE LITTLE TINY PONY,” I think to myself. He says that the processing speed matters, but it’d probably be wiser for me to invest in buying more RAM.
Is John seeing this? He came with me. I wonder. I mean, we walked here together. Surely he’s not as blind as everyone else? No, he’s distracted by a 30″ monitor. It pretty much wraps around him. He mumbles to himself, “I can see forever.”
“Okay, one last question, Jason,” I say to the acne-smacked employee. He looks sharp in that t-shirt.
“Do you realize there is a little tiny pony behind you?”
He sighs at me and says, “Yes, she’s in here all the time.”
And then John sees it too. “Oh my God!” he yelps in delight. “Why?
What? Huh?” He says he can’t decide which is more unbelievable, the fact that there was a horse in the Apple Store, or that he didn’t notice it.
Since then, John and I have a term called a “tiny pony”. It is a thing that is exceptional that no one, for whatever reason, notices. Or, conversely, it is an exceptional thing that everyone notices, but quickly grows acclimated to despite the brilliance of it all.
Cell phones and the ability to make a phone call to anyone from anywhere is a tiny pony. The instant gratification provided by being able to have almost any question answered immediately is a tiny pony. Airplanes are tiny ponies. A black president, whose father is from Kenya and mother is from Kansas, being elected President of the United States is a tiny pony.
When does the magic of a situation fade? When do we get acclimated to the exceptional? Is this how we get by? Would anything get done if we were constantly gobsmacked? Is this how we survive, how we stay sane? We define a pattern, no matter how exceptional, and acclimate ourselves to it?
No. I don’t want to believe that. Because there is a horse in the Apple Store.
This originally appeared on Frank’s blog in 2010