I’m online, browsing. I’m cruising for a new pair of slippers. I’m sitting on the love seat, in the living room, slouched down, my feet docked on the ottoman. My location is public, living room, slipping down, gliding for a new pair of slippers, my purpose public.
I enter “cruising slippers” into my search engine. I feel good. I’m plugged in, lit up. I’m online. My socials are open. The drones are swarming. I’m not alone. I twitter something fast: “Online slippers, what? Come on back!” Immediately, there’s a response.
I’m in a mood, an online mood. Mood indigo. What’s that? I enter “mood indigo” into my search engine. Oh, yeah, the Duke. I jump over to JazzStandards.com and click on the song, give it a whirl. Oh, yeah, the melody comes back to me, haunting. The piano notes sound like ice cubes clicking coolly in a cocktail glass.
“The Duke of Earl.” Who was the Duck of Earl, anyway? I enter “The Duck of Earl” in my search engine. It ignores the typo, corrects my search, thank you. I click on Urban Dictionary and start to scroll down. Some nice peer reviews going here, mostly thumbs up, a few down. Then an ad pops up: “Have you ever been arrested?”
I don’t like ads. I try to ignore the ad, but I can’t. I feel arrested. My mood shifts. I’m like a boat on the open sea, at the mercy of variable breezes. I open my facebook, enter “variable breezes” in my status and click. I get a few likes. Someone in Dansk says, “Breezing?”
Yes, that’s it, I’m breezing. I shift back to Twitter and enter “Breezing,” just the word, not even a period. No response. I’m not surprised. I don’t have that many followers on Twitter, but what’s a lot? I change lanes, back to Facebook, and enter “Breezing.” I have 500 friends. What time is it in Dansk, I wonder.
There’s a new tweet, from some cat in Belgium. I enter “slippers” into Google Translate: “pantoufles,” if I want a pair of French slippers, which I don’t, necessarily. I switch Translate into Dutch: “slippers.” Slippers in Dutch is slippers, same as English. Who knew? I enter “Slippers in Dutch is slippers in English, too” into Facebook. I get a bunch of likes and a few comments like it’s a joke or something, but I’m serious. I get a bizarre comment from some kid I went to high school with I haven’t seen or talked to in years. She claims she’s a lawyer of some kind. Probably under some kind of house arrest.
I open my search engine and type in “ottoman” and poof comes the story via Wiki: “Thomas Jefferson’s memorandum books from 1789.” Now there’s a trip, speaking of high school. I parachute out of Wiki and land back in my living room. I’m thirsty. I’m thinking of walking down to the coffee house. They have Wi-Fi there. What’s Wi-Fi? I don’t understand beyond having a general idea. I enter “Wi-Fi” into my search engine. What if we could see radio waves? I Tweet, “waves, pulsing.” I was going to tweet “radio waves,” but I didn’t. We can’t see these waves, at least I can’t, but I think I can feel them. Sometimes songs just pop into my head. That ever happen to you? Suddenly I’m singing some song in my head, not singing it, really, but it’s there, playing, playing in my mind, like my head is a transistor radio picking up the wave of the song. But if I try to sing the song, out loud, the words won’t come. A few might, but not the whole song, not unless it’s a song I’ve gone to the trouble to memorize, to commit to memory. This paragraph is too long for its purpose.
Location, living room. Purpose, slipping through time online for a new pair of slippers. Open: socials, check; three search engines, check; Wiki, check; my word processor, check. All systems go. Where does that term come from? I enter “word processor” into my search engine. What ever happened to WordPerfect? Do we process words? Do we perfect words? Mot juste. The word frozen. Justice.
I enter “All systems go” into my search engine. The dictionary calls the phrase cliché. Really? I don’t hear anyone using it much anymore. I enter “All systems go” into both Facebook and Twitter. Nothing, no response. Interesting. Maybe I should have typed, “All systems are go.”
I saw “Argo” not too long ago, on the Big Screen. What a trip. I had not been to see a film in some time, not in a big screen theatre. I had forgotten how big the screens could seem. We sat in the first row of the second section, not too close, in the front middle, so to speak. I like the front row. I like to slouch down and stretch out my legs. A message filled the big screen just before the lights dimmed: “Please put out your cell phone.” No, not right, “turn off,” it said. I did. I turned off my cell phone. I had thought I might maybe send out a few tweets during the film, but I thought better of it.
So to speak, thought better of it, all systems go. I should look these up. I’m bored with all that. I check out the news. First, the weather: slight chance showers. Slight, what is slight? Parse. Can you parse the showers, please? I tweet, “Parsing showers.” No one’s on Facebook. 500 friends and no one’s on. That’s a first. I check the news.
The news. I type “the news” into my search engine. I’m reminded of the scene in the Steve Martin film “Roxanne.” Charlie is strolling down the street and stops at a newsstand to buy a newspaper. He pulls one out and glances at the front page. A look of shock and horror pops up on his face. He scrambles back to the newsstand and fumbles in his pocket for another coin. He opens the newsstand and sticks the newspaper back into it and continues his stroll, his calm smile back on under his big nose.
1987, the year “Roxanne” was released. I just looked it up. But the thing is there are no newsstands anymore, no phone booths either, and mailboxes appear to be disappearing.
Notes: This post is part fiction, part real. It was inspired by a conversation I really had last Friday afternoon over at Stark Street Station with some colleagues. I do have a Twitter account, but I’m not on Facebook. I didn’t think of tweeting during the movie. That’s not something I would do. In any case, my cell phone can’t do that, tweet. And I’m not really in the market for a new pair of slippers. I don’t even have an old pair of slippers. I don’t wear slippers. Meemin retweeted “Parsing showers,” over an hour ago. A good post takes time.