Oddments

In search of story


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January 22.20

The watering hole. If you can disregard the feeling of cold mud up to your belly, you can see the attraction: an invigorating dip in melted ice and the latest gossip. What’s the word, hummingbird? What’s the tale, nightingale? (Who can forget the immortal lyrics in “Bye, Bye, Birdie”?)

I have a morning routine which involves turning on the computer as I stumble along the well-worn path from bedroom to coffeepot. When I return, hot coffee and cold cereal in hand, I click into my watering hole. Email. Blog. Then I’m fortified for the news and weather.

Yesterday was appallingly different. I settled in with cold cereal and hot coffee, yes, but the computer screen was all wrong: no Internet! Gasp!

Dear reader, can you imagine? I was without Internet all day yesterday, and I do not have television. I felt as though the entire planet had dropped away from me.

I remember life without the Internet. I even remember life without television. Back then I saw the people that mattered — friends and family — every day. Now I meet them on the Internet. I watched the birds in their mucky happy hour, and I missed my watering hole dreadfully.

 


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April 12.19

APOSTROPHE TO AN APOSTROPHE

Oh, you of little ink,

preposterous to think

you’d grow to such a plague,

pestilence and nag.

Everywhere and more

you’re a digital uproar;

documents are shredded

because you’re name-imbedded;

computers gag and sputter,

bureaucracies sweat and mutter,

printers flail and spit —

you just don’t seem to fit.

With all this ID ballyhoo,

I’m boiled in an impossible stew:

oh, my little apostrophe,

how to prove that I am me?

 

If, dear reader, you have an apostrophe in your name, you know the terrors. Some computers will take it; others won’t. Sometimes it’s changed to a comma, sometimes to a period, sometimes just tossed out. Then upper case becomes lower case (e.g., O’Hern becomes Ohern or O. Hern or O,hern). Lo, your last name as documented today does not match your last name on your birth certificate. Ponderously important people behind laptops are going to look at you with suspicion. They will ask you who you REALLY are. By that time the computers will have undone you and you will have no idea.

 


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Connections: January 23

Ode to My Computer

Oh, thou dastard mystery!

Flat rectangle of doom!

With monotoned duplicity

you dominate the room.

My memory card inserted

with photos fresh and current —

you just sit here humming

defiant and obscurant.

What happened to that SD thing

or whatever hapless part?

You’re just the modern tin man

and you really need a heart!

Connections