Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Electronic Schmectronic,

One rush hour I was carried — not against my will — with the crowd into the downtown Lex Express.  I had my E-reader in my right hand and grabbed the overhead bar with my left.  A young woman leaned her head on a young man’s shoulder and slept in the seat in front of me.  The crowd surged behind me.  I tried not to hit the sleepy girl’s head with my E-reader while the crowd tried to shove me off my feet. 

If I’d held a book, it would have been fine.  But no matter what E-everything supporters say, an E-reader is not a book.  It’s a machine.  In hanging onto the E reader, my finger touched a button.  Something other than what I’d been reading appeared on my screen.  There’s no “Esc” button.  There’s no “Undo” button.  Hanging on tight and swaying, nothing I did made the strange box that had appeared over the text disappear.  I couldn’t read.

If it had been a real book, I’d have been reading.

When I got a seat, I thought the tried and true method of rebooting would help.  The machine refused to be turned off.  It stayed the same.  The same.  The same.  It’s two weeks gone by now, and it still hasn’t run out of juice.  The same non-responsive dialogue box covers the text I had been reading.  I would have finished it by now if it had really been a book.

Earlier in the week I’d gone home with a splitting headache and wanted nothing more than to sit on the bus with my headphones on, connected to my CD player with a classical CD in there.  But it’s 2012 so I had my MP3 player with me, which does not have any classical music on it because electronic music players don’t understand pauses as anything but the end of a song.  Well, not a song, to the MP3 player.  An “entity,” perhaps.  Or a “unit.”  Or a “byte.”  The machines also have trouble with maintaining the order of a series of songs.  In the old days — say, the 1990s — I’d carried my CD player and three CDs so I could vary my listening with my mood.  One was always classical.  It usually took one CD to get to work.  If I had to change CDs during the morning commute, I knew I was going to be late. 

No I didn’t get bored.  My CD players always had a radio as well. 

Fast forward to the present, where the MP3 is conveniently compact, but does not understand classical music and does not understand that pause does not mean change to another song/unit/entry. A pause in music is like a zero in a longer number.  It counts.  I suppose I should download some piano sonatas, but what if there’s a rest? 

A Weekend Morning

Millie sits at the back door, chattering.  It’s an ack ack ack ack ack sort of sound as she watches the bluebird in the birdbath.  Chick and Wilbur are much more interested in the squirrel and remain silent.

My cats stare from their windowsills.  They are annoyed with me as I mop around the litter boxes.  I’m disturbing them when they want to get out there – maybe – and see what that interloper is doing from much closer. 

Outside, the black cat I haven’t seen in months is eating his kill just beyond the juniper. At least I assume he killed the dead bird.  Which is pretty impressive — pigeons are not small and this cat is not big.

He’s been here, in our yard, before.  I started setting up some plastic crates that I would have lined with insulating material had we had an actual winter.  But winter never came.  And yet the black cat didn’t come around during those months.  But before spring even started officially, there he was.  Perhaps his human kept him inside until we sprang forward. 

~ Molly Matera, saying Happy Spring to Us All.  Even if it’s 50 Degrees Again.


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