Surfing while camping, a true gauge of our modern ennui

I am overly fond of pointing out my curious habit of collecting electronic detritus in spite of my apparent miserly bent. Last year I purchased a lot of electronic shit, and for some reason felt compelled to write about it here, here, and here. It really can be no surprise that yesterday found me haunting the aisles of that large blue and yellow consumer electronics chain which has filled in the void left behind by Circuit City’s demise while I gazed intently at the rows of laptop computers. You see, my laptop is over 5 years old and it has served its time well. A couple of years ago I dropped it in my bedroom and I suspect this annoying incident severed or crunched a connection because the computer no longer detects the CD drive which is very inconvenient as I’ve needed to default to my desktop computer in order to make music or photo CD’s. In addition, I think another tragic result of that accident is that occasionally the computer enters a very herky-jerky, low-memory processing state. The sound breaks into static, all tasks stutter and creep along. It’s as if the processor is running on 50 Mhz instead of 1.6 GHz. The only way to cure the problem is to restart the computer, and even this is not a guarantee the computer will suddenly work properly. Lately it’s been freezing and anything I had going becomes completely irretrievable. “Luckily” I have not lost any of my elegant, splendid posts, but I believe it’s a matter of time if I keep tempting fate. I find myself saving my ongoing posts quite often when I’m composing on the laptop. I’d hate to see my preciously forgettable thoughts lost to the antiquated death rattles of a dusty and stained laptop. I’m a state of the art kinda guy, damnit. I deserve more than this. I’ve been toying with the idea of buying a new laptop, and in fact I’ve researched quite a bit, so yesterday I walked into the blue and yellow Kingdom of Geeks and browsed their laptops. I came across a Toshiba i5, 15.6″ chocolate brown exhibit for a price of only $699. Damn good price for the blue and yellow which was my favored choice due to their 18-month interest-free offer on items over a certain dollar amount. While i stood looking at it, conflicted, unsure if I should make the jump, I was approached by a really bored and desperate sales associate. I told him I was interested in that laptop, I asked a few questions about the i5, yada yada yada. He was a kid, early 20’s tops, and I was weirdly distracted by his Mr. Bean eyebrows. They were immaculately shaped, outlined, man it looked like he came straight from a wax treatment. And they were shaped oddly, large and round. I found it very hard to talk to this kid about computers when his fucking eyebrows pointed a comic, accusing finger at me.

The poor kid embarked on his junior sales associate-ized motif and asked me if I wanted to be “able to surf anywhere.”
It’s not his fault, but many of these sales guys approach their customers from the position that they are dealing with complete technoretards. Uh yes, I thought, I would like to be able to surf anywhere. Of course, I just don’t want to pay the outlandish 3 or 4 G prices. It’s not worth it to me. Before the kid could finish his spiel, I told him no thank you, “it’s too expensive.” Undeterred and perhaps a bit disoriented, he continued, “But you can surf anywhere. You can surf at the beach, while you’re camping…” I shook my head, “Nah, that’s fine. I don’t want to pay that much.” I laughed. “It’s not that important to me to be in contact all the time.” The kid was crestfallen beyond his worst Facebookian nightmare. This is not part of the script. Everyone wants to surf everywhere. Fuck, this is why smart phones are so hot. You can carry that little brick of silicon and message the entire world that you’ve just checked in at IHOP and you’re about to feast on the International breakfast or whatever it is the hell they sell there. Surf anywhere, tether yourself to this godforsaken world and tell everybody about it. Twit it, post it on your Wall, be a part of the global Hive.

Who the hell cares?
In fact, I’m currently in the process of downsizing my cellphone (the subject of a future post) to one that offers the bare essentials, ie, for use as a phone only. What a concept. Last year I wrote about cellphones and my Luddite appraisal of all their bells and whistles. Perhaps everybody feels the need to share their trivial existence with the world. Perhaps everyone feels the need to enter the murky, global community of social existence. I don’t get it, nor do I want to. In fact, it was very prescient of Al Gore or whomever it was that designed this monstrosity to call it the “web.” That’s what the fuck it is, one large, intertwined and strangling series of strands that bind you to the communal mass of oppressive humanity. You buy phones and computers that allow you to be part of this mess and one day, you will truly have no moment alone. Do people not love solitude any more? Do they not cherish independence and autonomy and release from the nagging entropy of the metastasized global mind?

Going to the beach or camping must necessarily be webfree experiences. Those wonderful nuggets of free nature are best enjoyed in the absence of wire or data transmission. Is this so difficult for us to accept? There are places on this planet which, like certain protected geographical landmarks, must be immune to the insidious practice of being “checked in.”

A place you can go where no one knows or sees.
A sanctuary away from the Hive.

Incidentally, the blue and yellow did not have the Toshiba in stock, and in fact, all blue and yellows in the vicinity were out of stock as well. Eyebrow Sales Associate relayed the news nonchalantly, as if didn’t care any longer. I suspect it’s because I wasn’t excited enough at the promise of surfing while camping.