A few weeks ago I made a personal vow to not spend more than one hour online, excluding the time it takes me to write these few lines every day and handle the e-mail. To some extent I’ve been successful, but I’m appalled at what I find myself coming late to.
For instance, only today did I find the photo of what Page Six is calling Jude Law’s nanny-poking stick. (That link is not safe for work, as the nerds say.) I like “nanny-botherer,” myself, but no one asked me. Anyway, it wasn’t until I spotted a dashed-off Salon essay on the subject that I even knew this vital Internet story was breaking.
And to think we tell these people to “get a life.” When they already have the only kind that matters! The kind lived on the internet, where we can look at long-lens photos of naked movie stars.
(By the way, I may be betraying more than I wish to here, but it didn’t look all that negligible to me. Just average. Also, consider: It’s connected to Jude Law. Please.)
I think what I need to do instead is cull my blogroll, make it tight and light and info-dense and b.s.-lite. But then I’d miss so much. Only today I learned it’s possible, on this very same internet, to buy a black-velvet painting of Zell Miller. Actually, there’s an entire gallery of black-velvet Republicans. Even Dick Cheney.
And this is what you learn when you violate your one-hour rule.
Something I learned the other day was the story about the couple who got their check at a New Jersey restaurant and discovered they’d been ID’d by the bartender as “Jew couple.” Today it was a woman who had trouble with — imagine this — Comcast, and received her bill some days later, only to find she’d been called an amusing, stress-busting-for-the-operators name, too. “Bitch Dog,” in this case.
God knows what they called me last month.
Maybe the coming Battle of Armageddon won’t be between the Forces of Freedom and those of Medieval Islamofascism; maybe it won’t be between Christians and Antichristians. Maybe it’ll be between customer-service operators and the customers they are supposed to serve. And if we have any brains at all, we’ll band together and attack the people who imposed this crap on us in the name of cost-cutting.
Today I got a call from someone who’d been trying to reach me for a while, judging from how often “out of area” turned up on the Caller ID the last few days. It was an automated bill-collecting call, for a person I’d never heard of. Press 1 if you’re this person, I was instructed; 2 if the person is there and can come to the phone; and 3 if you want to hear the options again. No option for “you have the wrong damn number, fool,” so I pressed 1, what the hell. I was transferred to a computer voice that informed me the person I’d never heard of owed $40 and change to the Quality Paperback Book Club and did I intend to pay it? Press 1 if yes. Let’s build false hope; I pressed 1. I was given an address to send my check or money order to. I hung up wondering if I’d just thrown a monkey wrench into the QPB Club or my own personal life, because obviously they didn’t get the message. Communication, they taught us in high school, is a loop. If you don’t hear back, you’re not communicating. If someone owed me $40, I’d want to hear what they had to say about it.
Oh, well. A random Thursday, it was. We seem to be ramping up for yet another hot spell, so I tried to do cool things short of turning on the air conditioner — sitting quietly under the ceiling fan, washing the car, going to the library. Kate and I rode bikes there, then stopped for lunch at the Mack Avenue Diner. She ordered grilled cheese and a milk shake. When the latter arrived, it appeared to be the Super Big Gulp of milk shakes, so I made her share. I’m convinced 40 percent of all the calories you consume as a mother consist of sharing food with your kid, picking at their french fries and raiding their Teddy Grahams when you’re depressed. On the other hand, it frees you to drink milk shakes again, so where’s the harm?
I have a deadline tomorrow, so probably no more posting until…hey, it’ll be Friday by then. No more posting until “Six Feet Under” wraps. I’m sure there’ll be plenty to discuss.