I don’t know much about electronics. I rely on my baby brother for that. He lives five minutes away, is nine inches taller, thirty kilos heavier, built like a teddy bear, and gives the greatest hugs. So when he told me that my TV needed an upgrade I agreed.
I called the TV people to ask about it, and they said they had none in stock. I explained that they had recently upgraded my brother’s, and that he had asked me to call them. They said no, I must be mistaken, and that unless my TV was broken, they couldn’t help me. I offered to have my child break the TV then call them back, and they laughed it off before hanging up.
A few weeks before that, my brother needed to replace his remote control. When he went to the TV shop, they gave him a free upgrade instead. So naturally, when my remote went wonky, I wanted the same deal. The first technician I talked to offered to sell me a remote for 1,200, which I thought was excessive.
He took my number to deliver said remote but never called. So I found a second technician who rummaged in his kit lockers and gave me five dust-coated remotes to test, instructing me to bring back the ones that didn’t work. A few seconds later, he changed his mind and decided to come to my house and test the remotes himself.
I suppose I felt wary, and just a tad offended. So I joked – loud enough for his pals to hear – that my house was only five minutes away, and that I wouldn’t want to steal his remote control anyway. His TV maybe, but not his remote. It was my way of being safe, making sure everyone knew exactly where we were going.
Anyway, he ended up charging me 2K for a ‘new’ remote which looked older than my wonky one. When baby brother saw the new remote, he asked why I didn’t just get the upgrade. I told him they had refused, so he smiled and said, ‘Let me handle it.’ Two days later, the technicians were on their way to my house.
As it turns out, baby brother had told them exactly what time to show up, but they decided his timing wasn’t convenient. So instead of calling him, they called me and kicked up a fuss. They have pulled similar stunts before, so baby brother said, ‘If they call you, tell them to call me.’ So I said listen guys. Who have you been dealing with? Can you please call him and tell him what you just told me?
I don’t know how that discussion went, but when I got home from work, I had a brand new TV upgrade, though they did take away my 2K remote and its brand new Energizer batteries. (Those things cost money people!) They replaced my batteries with a generic pair that I suspect will die after two days. Time will tell.
As I admired my pretty new electronic thingies, I casually wondered why they had refused my upgrade request yet they accepted my brother’s. My daughter said, ‘Because he’s a man and you’re a woman.’ She’s 12.
I identify as a feminist, and I recognise that in many ways, this is a man’s world. I teach my child that she can do and be whatever she wants to be, and it saddens me that the world teaches her otherwise. I’m sad that she can already see how things work, that sometimes – many times – her desires, opinions, and space is considered less valid, simply because she is a woman.
I’m glad she learned another lesson though. She learned that even though there are men in the world who will belittle her for being a woman, there are other men who recognise that, and step in to help. It’s awesome that men like that exist. We’re honoured to have one in our lives. And I’m glad that as my baby grows up and defines her taste in men, her uncle will be a massive part of that template.
♫ No matta what ♫ Toya ♫