Monday, February 22, 2016

counting clicks

Sure, they say it is all about clicks, and "they" are talking about calculating website visitations, drilldowns, pageloads, pauses, meanderings, and that sort of digital thing. SEO. All that. Not that I for one have ever been fully persuaded by such sales pitches and alleged monetary equations. Back in 2008, when I first started my business, I had people pitch me this or that "SEO optimization" scheme with robust assurances that such clicks would yield the sound of coins jingling in my pocket, or the silent chafing of high-denomination bills in my pants. I never fell for such outsized pitches, not for the type of work I was doing and still am performing. But I want to make a point about "clicks," and the point is this: is there any more resolutely and resoundingly certain a click than the sound of clicking shut the plastic top of your shampoo container in the shower? (I don't use conditioner, so we're talking shampoo, unless the shampoo has a conditioner built in.) Click. I love that sound, its unmistakable identity, its signature backstory of rushing water, frothing hair, cascading suds. Click. The signal of an act completed, the transition to rinsing and then the steaming nudity of inescapable self. Click. Where there is no counting, save the solo aria of One. (Or is it Zero?) Click. 

Friday, February 19, 2016

thread tread retread dread

As one progresses through the local mall, one sees kiosks -- even a store or two -- for "threading." Look, I don't even want to know what it is. I avert my eyes when threading is being performed on a live human being or when a promotional video depicts it. It grosses me out. I cringe at the thought of it. I cringe at the near-thought of anything remotely resembling threading. I do not care what its perceived benefits are. I won't bother to Google "threading" to learn more. Spare me.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

over and over and over again and again and . . .

She stood by the mail slot in the post office, twenty yards diagonally to my left. An old Italian lady, short, with a kerchief. Did I say "old"? She could be my age. She placed the envelope against the wall, near the slot, and rubbed where the envelope seals, pressing the sealed area, rubbing it like a grave rubber, transferring every particle of memory from a forgotten soul. She was a person whose life depended on the unbroken, secure fastening of this bill to be mailed. And she rubbed her fingers over the stamp too. And flipped the envelope over, to do it from that side, for good measure. The rubbing continued. It was now a ceaseless ritual. It was a compulsion and an obsession. Back in the Fifties, she might be called "neurotic." We now know better. We know something, perhaps only a tiny bit, about OCD. As I moved toward the counter, I continued spying on her. I did not mock her in my mind. I managed to quiet the voice in my head yearning to shout, "Enough already!" How am I different when I cannot stop from tweeting or reading tweets at 2 in the morning? How different was I in high school when, on the way home, I could not help stopping at every stationery store that carried every skin magazine allowed to the general public? ("That's not for you, son." It's not? If it's not for a teenage boy, then who is it for?) Another customer half-interrupted her, to insert his bills (does anyone mail anything else, thank you's, encouragements, condolences?) His disruption was not severe enough to break the chain, to challenge her rhythm. Having purchased my ten stamps, I exited the counter and entered the lobby. She was still there, now working on her Verizon bill. I was several feet away. I was not able to blurt it out. I was not able to voice it. It's okay now. You can stop. It's okay. It's all right. You can stop now. It's all right. Really. Trust me. Look at me. Come here.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

three-syllable cold

It is co-o-old out there tonight, with the winds a howlin' and the snow a-swirlin'. The packed-down snow crunches under wheels or feet. I love that sound. I'm even tempted to take a walk in the extreme conditions. But won't succumb to that temptation. Not tonight.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

what is my saga?

Never mind asking, "What is my sign?" (It is Sagittarius, but that explains or predicts very little, in my worldview.) It is more apt to ask, "What is your saga?" Now we're talking. Epic tales of conquest or defeat; heroic journeys; enlightening discoveries; noble orations.

My saga is in progress.

It is often ordinary but sometimes surprising in its twists, its shocks, its steps, its songs.

Isn't that what I've been reciting or humming here, my saga?

Characters come and go.

The tune morphs.

The plot thickens.

Or thins. 

Monday, February 08, 2016

Yes, Virginia, there is such a thing as a free lunch

On Saturday, I not only had a free lunch but I was paid to eat my free lunch. I answered some questions as part of a research panel. Three questions, four tops. Over 100 participants in the audience. Fifteen minutes of my time answering questions from the moderators. Twenty minutes max. Myself and two other panelists. We were veterans of two earlier rounds of this research. $150 to wag my tongue. And eat food. We felt like kids in the plastic-balls bin. Oh sure, you can grouse that SOMEONE paid for this free lunch, some entity or entities that awarded the research grant blah blah blah. But that is ever and always the case. Someone pays. Of course.

It's a wide world.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

'suspended' animation

I love how candidates who quit their campaigns for the presidency like to say they are "suspending" the campaign. Suspending. Really? True to the political norm, they like to sugarcoat the reality. I got a secret for you: they are quitting. Imagine if "suspend" gained a wider usage like that employed by these candidates.

"We have decided to suspend our marriage."

"As of Friday, we are suspending your position at this company."

"Kids, we are suspending the use of your electronic devices."

"This is your captain. Due to engine malfunction, we are suspending in-flight operations."