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Editor’s Note: Earlier this year, Justin wrote Iceland, a blog about his band’s American tour. Justin isn’t on tour anymore, but Iceland continues, twice a week, on City Desk.
“How much are your JBL SF-25 P.A. speakers?” I asked a representative at Chuck Levin’s Washington Music Center (CLWMC). We were communicating via telephone.
“JBL SF-25s are no longer manufactured,” the CLWMC representative informed me.
“Well, that presents a problem,” I explained. “I was once the owner of two JBL SF-25 PA speakers. As you may be aware, these speakers weighed over 100 pounds each. An adult man would be hard-pressed to move one of these speakers.”
“Indeed,” the CLWMC representative concurred.
“Because the JBL SF-25 is so large, I left a pair of them in my car for six months. I thought them too heavy to carry inside, and did not think any thief would bother to steal them. How could one man—-or even one man acting with an accomplicequickly, efficiently, and quietly steal something so large from a car parked on a well-lit city street? If anyone has strength and chutzpah enough to steal these enormous speakers, I concluded, he or she deserves them. And, indeed, an unknown, deserving person did smash my car window and, under the cover of night, steal one of my JBL SF-25s.”
“Unfortunate,” the CLWMC representative remarked. “The replacement unit is the JBL JRX 125—-an upgrade of the JBL SF-25. This costs $328.”
“I am on my way!” I exclaimed. Soon, I was in my car, merrily driving to Wheaton. On the way to Wheaton, I passed many malls and boxlike apartment buildings. Many of these structures were erected in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Certainly, Swiss architect Le Corbusier guided the brutal aesthetics of Wheaton’s designers, I thought. A replacement P.A. speakerlike saline solution and unlike a kilo of cocaineis no fun to buy, but it at least provides an opportunity to evaluate Wheaton’s architecture.
“I am here to purchase the JRX 125,” I informed a CLWMC representative upon my arrival at CLWMC.
“The price is $375,” the CLWMC representative replied.
“I must object,” I objected. “I was told over the phone that the price was $328. There is a $47 difference between these two prices.”
The CLWMC representative frowned. He disappeared to the back of the store and conferred in hushed tones with other CLWMC representatives. He pointed at me. The other CLWMC representatives frowned. He threw his hands up in the air. The other CLWMC representatives shook their heads. He gesticulated wildly. The other CLWMC representatives sighed. After some minutes, the CLWMC representative returned.
“You were told the incorrect price over the phone,” the CLWMC muttered. “But do not doubt that we will honor it.”
“Excellent,” I replied. As he prepared my paperwork, I drifted to the window of CLWMC to again admire Wheaton’s terrifying architecture. Le Corbusier has given us a brutal world, I thought, and we are living in it.