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Some people turn vicious when they get drunk. It’s as if the alcohol floats venom to the top of their personalities resulting in bitchiness, nastiness and/or violence. I am generally a congenial and socially acceptable drinker. My anger floats to the top via technology. And men. But men are not today’s topic. Printer/copier/fax machines, cable companies, and phone service providers are my poisons du jour.
I have an anything-computerized-curse. And a Titan sized anger management problem to go with it. I have spent most of the last two days engaged in a tech-fueled hissy fit. I have sworn my way through multiple calls to my internet service provider (several that mysteriously dropped–go figure), thrown lots of heavy objects around my apartment, and contemplated chucking everything wired and wireless out of my second story window à la David Letterman. My affliction also seems to include a compulsion to use French idioms in my writing. Merde!
It’s not possible to live conveniently in today’s world without computerized gadgets and internet access, but the idea of living off the grid in the backwoods of Montana looks more and more appealing every time I encounter a glitch. Which is frequently. The only thing holding me back is starvation, because I can’t keep a single plant alive, much less a whole garden full, and I’m sure as heck not going to take up hunting. Maybe if I just get a cow, a few goats and some chickens I can live off of eggs, butter and cheese? Perhaps there’s a nice commune or cult somewhere that needs a writer to keep a group memoir in exchange for food? These are the kinds of things I sincerely consider at times like this.
My rage is not always directed exclusively at electronic, inanimate objects. Trash cans and screen doors are also on my shit list, but mostly it’s computers and clueless customer service reps that end up on the receiving end of my frenzies of piqué. I once dropped my lap top on the floor, forcefully, and then told the accidental insurance people that the cat had knocked it off the counter. I did that because Microsoft Word kept quitting on me and I lost about 6 pages of a legal document I had been working on for hours. It was highly justified in my opinion. It wasn’t helpful or rational, but it did make me feel better for a few minutes, until I realized that I had scared my dog so badly she wouldn’t come out of the bathroom.
I’ve come to the conclusion that Microsoft, Comcast, AT&T, Brother and Apple are all out to “get me”. They are manipulative and deceitful. They seduce and entice with promises of faster downloading speeds and a more “connected”, happier and productive life. Then they become arbitrary and disconnected, like bad boyfriends, leaving me alone, frustrated, and wasting hours of my time trying to figure out just what went wrong and how I can make the relationship work again. I want to break up with them all, but there are no better options unless I go join that cult. And I am not religious or prone to easy brainwashing.
Or am I? I read somewhere that super-brands, like Apple, affect the brains of their devotees in the same way that religion affects fanatics’ brains. The same areas light up in response to stimuli of either Apple products or theistic imagery. I’m pretty sure that the sections in my brain related to violence and mayhem would light up if someone gave me an MRI and showed me pictures of iPhones and fax machines. The highly emotional sections of my brain would still react though, making it almost the same thing: obsession and devotion. My devotion is, of course, a devotion to technological animosity. I would call it a love-hate thing, but I only love gadgets because I hate to live without them. Thus my extreme reactions when they refuse to work properly.
I can’t do what I want to do without staying connected via the virtual world, and it will undoubtedly continue to piss me off, so I need to find more productive ways to manage my vexation. I will still probably swear at the useless boobs who pose as customer service reps and technicians because someone working at those companies needs to know they ruined my day, but throwing stuff has to stop. I have a large window in my living room. The copier manual I threw at it two days ago didn’t do any damage, but my iPhone would probably break it and winter is coming. That just won’t do. Maybe I should invest in some boxing gloves and see if my ceiling fan can support a heavy punching bag.
Au revoir for now. With any luck, this most recent episode of oft-interrupted internet service and fax machine Hell will be the last for a while. If you don’t hear from me again you can find me in Montana. You will need a horse and a bloodhound though.