I’m on my way to the post office to send a letter to the IRS. I’ve been trying to send it for weeks and every time I get close, something happens. The ink runs out of my printer, I lose one of the papers; it’s crazy.
So finally I get it together and I’m there and a woman is coming out. “The f*cking computers are down!” she screams, looking straight at me, ranting as if to convince me not to go inside. I’m polite, but the truth is, even if the computers are down, I can’t leave that easily; I have a letter to send. I thank her for telling me and go inside.
There are two guys in line. They seem pretty calm. Makes me wonder about that lady. Then the woman behind the counter makes an announcement, “If you don’t have a pickup or a prepaid package, we can’t help you. The computers are down.”
I go over to her, “Hi, I just need a stamp to mail this letter.”
“I said the computers are down.”
“I know, but you don’t need a computer to sell a stamp.”
“Next!” She says dismissively.
I look at the two guys in line and start talking about how this doesn’t make any sense. One guy walks right past me to the counter and the other gives me the back of his head. Seriously? I start talking louder. “So nobody thinks this is some bullsh*t?” I’m in a world all by myself. I make my way to the door, passing a woman coming in. “The freakin’ computers are down!” When she doesn’t turn to leave I almost block her from getting in. Ah, never mind.
Later that night, I’m still fuming. What kind of official government agency has no backup system when the computers are down? I’m trying to understand how it is that they can’t sell a stamp. I picture aliens coming in from outer space by the millions, taking over the planet and we never had a chance because the computers were down.
Okay, I need to focus. I have an article due in the morning and it’ll never get done if I keep harping on this. I pull out my computer, but it’s acting funny. It’s doing this thing where it doesn’t hold the charge. Man, I hope it’s the charger and not the computer. As it stands, I have two apples just sitting in the corner, collecting dust. One will never work again and the other has a charge issue. As a result, important stuff is being held hostage until I can get it off of the hard drive.
So I start wiggling the charger, praying, pleading, but the only thing that happens is that it doesn’t come back on.
What now? I have to write this article.
I can’t do long pieces on my phone because the keypad is too small so I’m always typing the wrong letters and then it auto-corrects and I gotta keep going back and it ends up taking forever to write one simple sentence. I think about pulling out a pen and notebook, but that’s worse. For some reason I can’t get my brain to connect to how fast my hands are going so my handwriting ends up looking like a nuclear explosion. It’s crazy because people used to ask me to write letters for them. Now they ask me to write my name again and again because they can’t read it. And let’s not mention spelling. I was watching the news the other day and they had two kids who won the national spelling B and I was reminded of what a good speller I used to be. Each year, me, Bob and Selina would go toe-to-toe in the spelling B at school. I never won it, but I did come close. One time I actually spelled tyrannosaurus. Then the next round I got out on rhythm. That’s a tricky one. Now I don’t even try to spell. I just try to get close enough for spellcheck to do the rest. I’ve gotten so freakin’ lazy since computers. I used to write in a journal too. I’ve been writing in a journal since I was old enough to hold a pencil and I’ve kept one throughout my crush on Scooter in the 3rd grade, in high school when I went to my first dance and when I went to Paris the first time. Journals have saved my life, giving me a safe haven and a place to work out the kinks in my head. Once I lost a storage because I didn’t have the money to pay and what hurt me the most was the loss of my journals. The day they were set to be auctioned I felt raw. My worst nightmare was and still is that someone picked them up: Hmm…what is this? says the creepy guy who buys other people’s personals from storage. The beautiful handwriting draws him in. It becomes his favorite reading material at night. When he gets to my first sexual experience he screams, “Noooo, you’re not ready!”
I sometimes think about how people sell the diaries of famous people when they die…but it doesn’t even matter because I don’t write longhand anymore. I have to move quick. It’s technology that allows, no demands, that I move so fast. Try living in society doing things the old fashioned way. I was on the train the other day reading my Joel Osteen book when this guy sat next to me with his fancy Kindle and said, “Hey, Old School!” I had to look around and make sure that he was talking to me. He reads everything on his Kindle. Everything. But I get it. That Kindle was so small and sleek in his hands and my book looked like an encyclopedia. I damn near had to bring a suitcase just to could carry it.
Technology is the cat’s meow.
Until it shuts down. I’m never prepared for it. When I lost my phone last year there went all of my contacts and my precious baby’s pictures. Her first smile, crawl…gone. And sadly, it wasn’t the 1st time. I keep saying I will go to Walgreens and get some hard copies made but I don’t have time. And honestly, I don’t even know what I’m supposed to do. So I pretend that these computers will never go out on me. That I can trust them with my life. And they fail me every time.
I think back to the post office and wonder if that’s what they think too. Perhaps they just don’t have time to back up the system. Or maybe it’s too much work. Maybe they just don’t know how because, like me, technology moves faster than they do. And that lady behind the counter, maybe she don’t have time to sell stamps without the computer because it requires her to handle money and think and who’s got time for that? I’m convinced that computers make us lazy and rob us of all desire to do things on our own. It becomes all about the computer. It’s a hell of a b*tch. But we are all slaves to her.