I’m turning the key in the ignition, ready to leave for work. My new smartphone alerts me to a message. I pick it up and look.
“The piece is good,” my uncle has posted on my Facebook page. “But. . .”
Oh, no. My stomach lurches; I break out in a sweat. I close my eyes, then look back at the screen.
“But your stuff is funnier.”
This, in response to a link I shared. A piece written by my brilliant buddy, Annie Boreson, of “Annie Off Leash.”
If it wasn’t for the sweat, I might be able to pretend this isn’t happening. But it’s there, trickling down my neck, between my boobs, and pooling in my belly button. Each drop brings me one step closer to the reality I desperately want to deny.
I don’t agree with my uncle’s comment, but that’s not important right now.
What’s important is that Annie never, ever see it.
I look at my computer in the back seat. There’s no way I can boot up. Panicked, I hit “reply” on my phone, thinking I’m sending a message to my uncle. “Erase! Eras!” I type. Then, hands shaking, ”That/t’s my frends linkk!”
It immediately appears on my wall.
I’ve now exposed, illustrated and underscored the depth and breadth of my technological ineptitude. Worse, the message reads as if I posted the link simply because Annie’s my friend.
I wonder if suicide is legal in New Jersey.
My phone chimes again. ”I don’t know how to erase it,” my uncle has posted. “And it was a good story! I didn’t say it was un-funny. I just said your stuff is funnier.”
Do you know what this is? This is two adults from an earlier generation trying to navigate Facebook with their new smartphones. And it’s being played out publicly, on the World Wide Web.
I try telling myself that this kind of thing happens to everybody. That ten years from now, I won’t even remember it. And – being in competition with another friend over who does more stupid things – that I’m now squarely in the lead.
None of it helps.
Gripping the wheel, I pull out.
I feel a “whoosh,” and know exactly what it is.
My belly button just overflowed.My New Phone |
I upgraded to a smart phone last week.
Now I have a phone that’s 2,800 times smarter than I am.
You know what disturbs me about this? The fact that I don’t care. It doesn’t bother me that my phone could register each calorie my cat ingests, critique my etiquette or give me trigonometry lessons in German. Instead, it brings me a vague sense of comfort. I know nothing of apps, but I do know they’re there, lying in wait to assist in my infinite hours of need. Lose a sock? I bet my phone could find it. Get a flat tire? It would summon a magic carpet. Running late for work? It could flip my time zone and all would be well.
Initially, I feared that I’d never comprehend my phone’s features. Now I’m equally concerned that I will.
At the moment I’m trying to figure out how to upload/download/whatever the fuck – the perfect ringtone.
Yes, I’ve once again been sucked into the whirling vortex of available ringtones. It’s a sickness, this need to dance or pretend I’m in a James Bond movie every time my phone rings. But it’s in me, this sickness, with no cure in sight. True, I haven’t sought one, BUT THAT’S NOT THE POINT. The point is, with the perfect ringtone, even a call from the I.R.S. could make me happy.
Downloading a personalized ringtone on my iPhone, however, is proving difficult. The process smacks of a Dean Koontz novel, involving measures like importing, converting, formatting, transmuting, transmogrifying, and inverting various versions of reality.
If I manage to succeed, I’ll have the ringtone of my dreams. But at what price?
This isn’t really about technology, I’m realizing. It’s a matter of identity, testing all that I know and hold dear about myself. Unchecked, I fear I might start employing shortcuts, embracing widgets and utilizing advanced settings. I could become familiar, even comfortable, with functions I enjoy considering beyond my ken. Next thing you know, I could be taking online courses on Twitter and agreeing that Kindles should be allowed to exist.
So. Self-image versus the ideal ringtone.
Which do you guess will prevail?The Parking Chronicles VI | The Facebook Debacle →
I’ve been contending with a wretched parking situation for almost ten years. (Low rent, nice apartment. The golden handcuffs.) Ten years of. . . No! I refuse to re-regale you with the details. Suffice it to say, I’d take a driveway over a cure for herpes any day. Sweeten the deal with my own washer and dryer and God knows what I might do.
Presently, I’m at odds with my neighbor, E6.
E6, if you recall, lives next door to me. She has a handicap sticker — for, I’m told, the safety of her autistic son. A boy who does, in fact, exist, but around whom questions still remain.
That’s all I’ll say about that.
Like a previous tenant with a handicap sticker, E6 parks at the tippy-top of her space, leaving yards of room behind her, ensuring that nary a soul can park a split inch over her line. As a result, intimidated drivers park half a car length ahead of her, fearing they’ll get a $200.00 fine for encroaching on her space.
Yes, E6 would call the police to set those wheels in motion. Had I been aware of that, I’d have known my request would not be well-received.
Last week (a particularly brutal parking week for me) I worked up the nerve to approach E6. ”I hope this isn’t obnoxious to ask,” I said, ever so politely. ”But would you consider moving back in your parking space, just a little tiny bit?” I made the universal hand-gesture for “little, tiny bit.” Then, meekly, I added, “You’re so close to your line, other people are parking a half a car length above you. . .”
“Don’t tell me how to park,” E6 cut in. ”That’s my fucking spot. If other people park like assholes, that’s not my problem.” She went into her apartment and slammed the door in my face. Then she began to scream.
As tirades go, hers was impressive. It continued for twenty minutes, and was rife with the terms fuck, bitch, goddamn asshole, harassment and police. Also notable was her repetition of the phrase, ”It’s not my fucking problem!” Given her volume and the thinness of our shared wall, she might just as well have been in my kitchen.
Annoying, it was. Still, up to that point, it all rolled off my back.
Then E6 shouted the question that sealed both of our fates: “What kind of fucking idiot cares so much about parking?”
What kind of idiot, indeed.
I had an answer to that.
My letter was reasonable, respectful and mild. I knew that would make her batshit crazy. The opening was downright conciliatory.
After expressing regret for any bad feelings between us, I mentioned how many tenants have moved out of our building because they couldn’t take the parking anymore. I then relayed my own trials. (Trudging two and a half blocks in cold, wind, rain or snow, lugging my overnight bag, gym bag, laundry, pocketbook and computer, accidentally dropping shit on the sidewalk as I go. Feeding a meter just to stay at home. That kind of thing.) Near the end, I implored E6 to put herself in my shoes.
Upon discovering the letter, E6 she had a conniption. Even more satisfying, her husband took my side. Every time he spoke (his words were too low for me to make out) E6 shouted, “No! NO! Fuck that! I’ll park however the fuck I want!”
It was a sweet moment for me. Still, it’s nothing compared to what I have planned.
The next time I see E6 in the hallway, I’m going to bid her a cheery hello.
If her hands are full, I’ll offer to carry something.
Best, I’ll hold the elevator door open for her. Midway to the lobby, I’ll offer her a gift certificate for a day at the local spa.
That, my friends. That will be her undoing.My Father’s Daughter, The Pope | My New Phone →