Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Dig This

I'm a big fan of life, and I find it endlessly fascinating: your life, my life, our collective lives. That's why I don't make a lot of room in my library for fiction; there are so many facts to be learned! And lessons.

Like this one. My cell phone is acting up. Again. It's one of those flip-open jobs with a QWERTY keyboard, and after work I'm heading to the won't-say-the-name-of-the-wireless-company-but-it-rhymes-with-Horizon store so I can get one with a WORKING keyboard. What happens is, nothing happens. I'll be at work or at home whisking a souffle or piloting my yacht into a slip at St. Tropez and suddenly it will dawn on me that I haven't had a call or a text for a while. I'll look at the phone and find it has turned itself off. Not good. Turn it back on and it stays turned on for a couple of hours, much like Jon Gosselin, before cutting out again, much like Jon Gosselin. The battery is charged; I've removed the battery and put it back in and tried every which-a-way to fix this. In June, I took the phone back to the store and got a replacement, and this time, I'm going to ask for a different kind of phone. One that works would be nice.

And yesterday I called the good people at Mesmerizin' and talked to a woman who really followed the script. She found out my first name and used it 157 times in a five-minute conversation. Ever notice that technique that is supposed to ingratiate the speaker unto you? "Well, Mark, I can certainly appreciate how inconvenient this has been for you, Mark, so let's see how we can resolve this issue for you, Mark. Mark, would it be possible for you to return the phone to the store where you purchased it, Mark?"

I don't want this to turn into one of those posts where I babble on about how we didn't use to have cell phones and how much simpler life would be if only we weren't so bound to our technology and so on. That's why you see so few Luddites today. No one wanted to marry them and give birth to Luddite, Jr. The fact is, we are used to having our technology and our cell phones and our iPods and our DVRs and email and I don't know what-all else.

But here's what I was driving at. Or, more accurately stated, driving past. On the way to work I saw some guys at the cemetery (the one with the ominous slogan "Now, above-ground burial is within the reach of all" on the archway as one enters) and they were preparing the ground for someone's funeral. All low tech stuff: tents, shovels, picks, wheelbarrows. It was a reminder that a time is coming when we won't care so much about our cell phones. Enjoy things while you have them, but don't sweat the small stuff. And don't small the sweaty stuff.

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