Thursday, May 10, 2007

a luddite is born ...

i'm revealed as a luddite at cub foods, trying to negotiate with the automated check out system. chuck standing behind me, cringing at my pace. he is comparing my scanning, bagging rate to that of my favorite check out artist and i'm losing.

"this is supposed to be faster," he says. "i think like three people have already gone through."

i'm trying to find the picture of an avacado on the small screen. i'm being admonished by a robot for removing an item from the bagging area. i'm trying to figure out where to swipe my debit card. i'm a technological failure.

but this is how i prefer to travel. sure i love cindy -- the night clerk -- and her crazy swath of grey hair, big glasses, her eternal back pain and her thorough recall of my life:

"i never recognize you right away, christa," she says. "sometimes you wear glasses, sometimes you don't. sometimes you wear a hat, sometimes a pony tail and sometimes your hair is down."

and, circa last year, "you always are here with a different man." my landlord and his arm loads of buy-five-get-one-frees, my former roommate piggy backing my purchases, now chuck and my inability to put the convenient in convience.

then there is the confounded tivo remote, one of three on chuck's coffee table. the thing standing between me and an episode of grey's anatomy. some of the buttons even have pictures on them. i look at the tv. look at the remote. select a button and actually push the remote toward the tv as i push a button. my glasses forward on my nose. i know that i look exactly like my mother trying to use her cell phone. chewing her bottom lip and squinting.

today i tried to pay at the pump to avoid interaction with humans. the pump was curiously void of instructions. i swipe card. squint at the screen. push a button. squint. no i don't want a receipt, which is basically just a souvenir reminding me that i spent 32 dollars to fill the civic. squint. select unleaded. cock my head. shuffle my feet. put it in the gas tank. wait for something to happen. nothing happens. i'm getting antsy. nothing is happening. then it starts to work. finally.

can you imagine what would happen if i had an ipod? or a computer that i didn't have to crank to start?

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