An Endless Conversation on Wants and Needs
“Guess what!” my wife exclaimed, “I have a gift certificate for any gadget.”
“That’s great,” I replied.
“And the best thing is… I’m giving this gadget to you!” she continued, “so what gadget would you get?”
My eyes passed over the two smartphones on my desk. One for work, always ringing for some patient or other, or a consult from a doctor or a nurse. The other quietly buzzing with messages or calls from close friends and family.
I looked at the e-reader in my hand, happy with the 500 or so books inside.
I looked at the gadget in my work bag, filled with programs for computing a medical formula or another. This doubles as a game machine for when the kids need to a quiet distraction.
“But I don’t need a new gadget,” I said.
“You must want something,” she pressed.
After a few moments, I ventured that it would be nice to have a gadget that uses another operating system.
“Ok,” she replied. “So that’s what we’ll get.”
I went back to reading my e-book.
“Umm, dear?” she began, “Don’t we have too many gadgets already?”
I sighed. Did I just say at the middle of the conversation that I did not need any new gadgets? Did you not ask me for a gadget that I might want?
But after the sigh, I just smiled.
“Dear,” I said, “since we have all the gadgets we need, may you switch the certificate to get something else instead?”
“Is there anything else you want?” she began again.
And the conversation continued.