The Dutch call New Year’s Eve, pragmatically, “Oud & Nieuw” (old and new, obvs.) I still haven’t figured out why they feel the need to fire off crazy amounts of fireworks to celebrate it (instead of, like the rest of the world, politely cramming themselves into public spaces to watch someone else do it for them), but I do enjoy the general lack of mysticism around this holiday in this country as opposed to many others. Nobody expects the night to be magical, or to suddenly bring about drastic change, nobody even seems to bother reflecting (much) on what they want to accomplish in the year ahead. They just say goodbye to the old, hello to the new.
Today I had to replace my iPhone, whose screen I dramatically, fantastically smashed yesterday afternoon. My ‘genius’ helper at the Apple Store was clearly at the end of a crazy shift, and mechanically went rapid-fire through all of Apple’s rituals surrounding old and new (ha) products.
Click, click, plop, plop, a signature, a swipe of my card, and suddenly I was holding a glistening new iPhone in my hands while my old one lay in a little white box, nestled in a perfectly iPhone 6-sized indentation, with a ‘MAKAGONOVA’ sticker across the side. My phone’s little grave.
It’s strange that as I looked at it, lying crumpled and broken in that silly box, I somehow felt a sense of loss, of having to let something go. Even though I had never felt particularly attached to my phone, nor anything it contained. Even though I was holding an identical, fresh new one and as soon as I connected it to a backup source the two would be indistinguishable. Still, I felt I had to say goodbye, and I watched it being whisked away with an undeniable melancholy.
Perhaps it’s a testament to Apple’s incredible ability to make their products an irreplaceable part of our lives, or perhaps it’s that pesky New Year’s Eve tradition of thinking a little too deeply about fresh starts and reminiscing about times past. But I feel like I’ve participated in a ritual today that pays due respect to ‘Oud & Nieuw’.
Happy holidays everyone.