Technology vs. Common Sense

I pride myself on having a modicum of common sense and in a sense we can add this quasi-oxymoronic qualifier “know enough to come in out of the rain” to today’s title.

This past Saturday was a dismal drizzly day and we were having a friend over for dinner and most likely a rousing game of Turner Classic Movies SceneIt? sometime afterward. A rousing game it was, too, and I’m still recoiling from not knowing a particular movie clip was from Judy Garland’s “A Star Is Born”. Shame. Shame on me. Among the things we were involved with during the day aside from cooking were laundry, finding the paperwork for my adding machine so I would know exactly what type of ink replacement I needed and working together on trying make the driveway alarm work properly. It’s a new one and supposedly fool-proof. Of course, as with all things technological, it seems we are the two fools who can manage to foul things up. I’ll spare you all the intrinsic details but it will suffice to say our neighbors must think us nuts watching Ariel drive up and down the driveway while we test the thing, each of us with a phone to communicate as to whether the buzzer sounded or not. This scene has been played out at least once a day over the last week. Finally, after making height and angular adjustments in the rain, it seemed to be working.

Since we needed a few last minute things and bird feed from Stop & Shop (the one I won’t step foot inside even though it’s 5 minutes from my house) I decided to go along and look for my adding machine ribbon at the Office Depot in the same shopping center.

“When you’re done in there,” Ariel said, “I’ll meet you at the dollar store,” where we were looking for disposable aluminum pans to freeze all the food we cooked. Parked equidistantly from both stores, we went our separate ways and I realized suddenly, I had left my phone at home. It’s a long story, but I panic these days when I don’t have my phone, but we’d be away only a few minutes and be back home and I reconciled myself to that fact. But what if I needed to confer with him about something. Cripes!

Round and round the store I searched while the one salesman on the floor was helping someone with computer questions. I knew I should be able to find the ribbon myself, I’m not really that much of a moron. Rememer? A modicum of common sense? I heard the customer thank the salesman for his help and as I turned, someone else had already nabbed him. She was all giddy and joking about what type of cover for her cell phone she should get. Geez, lady, shut up, I need adding machine ribbon. You’d think scouring the displays by the adding machines might be helpful, but I looked, to no avail. Again, thank you, but someone else got his attention. Finally, he directed his attention to me, and led me to the spot I had passed at least three times and, oh, look at that! Replacement ribbons.

I paid and went next store to get the aluminum pans at the dollar store and no sign of Ariel. He must have gotten delayed at Stop & Shop. No surprise there; he’s always got a story of how some knucklehead doesn’t know how to use the self-check out registers. I don’t either and don’t plan on learning, but that’s an entirely different matter.

I waited by the truck and the drizzle was a little heavier now. I thought I could go stand under the awning (marquis, overhang–take your pick) at the entrance to the grocery store, but I didn’t even want the solace from the weather it would have provided, that’s how much I can’t stand that store. If only I had my phone, I could find out what was keeping him. I finally relented (having sense enough to come in out of the rain), ever watchful for Ariel to exit. I knew I had taken a long time at the office supply store and possibly I missed him in the dollar store, that maybe he was looking at other cheaply priced stuff. But then, while I was reluctantly keeping dry, I thought I spotted him in the distance entering the dollar store, (maybe he was looking for me in Office Depot) but before I walked up that way to see if it was him or not, I had this brilliant sudden idea to see if the stuff he bought at Stop & Shop was already in the truck (because I was certain he wouldn’t be carting around a 20-lb bag of bird feed, a bag of ice and a container of vanilla ice cream) and if it was, (and it was indeed) then that was him I just saw and I’d go up and meet up with him. If only I had my phone. And why I didn’t think to peek inside the truck when I was first standing there, stubbornly refusing to get out of the rain, I could have been hunting him down that much sooner. That’s how robotically conditioned we are that we can’t survive without the tether to technology.

As it turns out, he had been to the other dollar store at the opposite end of the shopping center which is the only one he knew about and was heading to Office Depot when he came upon the dollar store I had gone to. I assumed since this new one was so bright and shiny (even though they sold aluminum trays without lids and Ariel got ones with lids at his dollar store) was the new location of the one he was in. I know, it’s so confusing. And what’s the idea of two dollar stores in one shopping center, anyway? Oh, no, wait, the other is a 99 cent store. My mistake.

And here’s a non-sequitur that I just have to weigh in on: I just now saw a piece on the news that further lays proof that Kanye West is a big fat loud mouth douchebag. During Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech last night for her best music video, West interrupted her to announce he thinks Beyonce should have won, that she had one of the best videos of ALL TIME. What a tool!

And it’s McGinty Monday.



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