I Want A New Drug (Jonesing for Broadband)

Living on the road for an extended time requires a decent place to stay. Corporate apartments are fine if you don’t have time to make other arrangements or the stretch your serving on the road is short.  If you’re doing at least six months you want your digs to be nice. Nice is not covered by corporate housing. Corporate housing covers convenience.

I had found the place, not perfect but close. It was nice. Because it was nice I had to rent furniture and arrange connections to the real world.  Getting a TV hookup turned out to be easy. The internet was another story. It was in high demand and the way I was being treated as a customer you would have thought it was a controlled substance.

“The soonest we can install is the 9th sir”

“January 9th, ok that works.”

“No sir, February 9th.”

“Are you serious?” Stupid me, stupid question. Yes they were, serious that is.

“Sorry, all of our appointments are booked up until then.”

“Well maybe you need to hire some more people”. They weren’t taking my business advice, go figure.

“Sorry sir. That is the soonest we can get to you”.

“Well ok.” They seemed to be the only internet provider* for my new building so what else could I do . Well, one thing I could do was not use the same company for television. Being a sports junky and avid , ok  rabid, follower of my alma mater basketball program I would not be able to wait a month for TV.

Turns out that wouldn’t be a problem. The cable TV division of the same company was prompt and efficient and I had my basketball fix toot-sweet. My internet fix was another story and my addiction to that substance was revealing itself to be much more serious than I thought. I was like a junkie with an out-of-town dealer.**

I went online in the business center of my complex to see if I could do the deal quicker. The providers website said they could do it almost three weeks sooner. That was a good thing considering the guard that shuts down the business center in the evening was fast becoming a friend.

Missed meetings with the internet provider began to drive suspicions and undercurrents of doubt. The day of another scheduled appointment I called the provider for conformation and to tell them to call the leasing office to be let in. The internet provider was insisting that someone who lives at my residence needed to be there during the 8 hour window for the appointment.  I was still waiting for them to ask If I was a cop.

“Sorry folks, I know it may come as a surprise but I work for a living. Something has to pay your fee.” The folks at my leasing office were more than welcome to let them in and be there during the entire time of the installation which much to no one’s surprise would not take more than an hour.

“Sorry sir, you or someone who lives there has to let us in”.

“So the people who provide the housing, the leasing office , are not good enough?”

“No sir”. Clever bastards, they must smell a shake down.

“Ok, then I will have to reschedule todays appointment for another time because , and I hope you’re sitting down, It will be inconvenient during my work day  to not be at work that entire day”.

“Are you sure sir?”.

“Yes, I am pretty sure work is expecting me to show up at some point during the day. I have to reschedule”. Fortunately they had a four-hour window available the following Monday , just a few days later. Perhaps If I keep running this grift I can actually get them to show up first thing in the morning and get it done in an hour. Ok , who was on drugs now? 

Ten hours later I am walking out of work on what was a shorter than usual work day to find umpteen messages on my voicemail. Several of which were whispering communiques from an employee of the internet provider and several were messages from the leasing company.

“..static ..static…Sir this is , garbled voice, from , garbled voice, to install your internet. I am on the way to your address”…

…“ Sir, this is so and so from the leasing office and we have your internet provider here. Is it ok to let them in?” …

“…static …garble garble, sir this is static garble garble from the internet provider. I am at the leasing office waiting to be let in.”

Strange, only the calls from the provider seem to be unintelligible. More importantly, why were they showing up for an appointment that was cancelled?

I had learned two things at this point. The first was that the installer knew the leasing office could let him in and the second was that the internet/communications company had a problem with communications. Ironic or moronic? You choose.

I got home to find out that I was still sans internet. I called the leasing office to let them know that I really meant it when I signed the access permission form and they didn’t have to call me. I then called the provider and promptly entered the mind numbing world of Kenny G as they put me on hold.  Shortly afterwords I succumbed to a Kenny G induced coma, an altered state I recommend to no one. I woke up at the breakfast bar at 2 AM,  thought it was a shame it was too early for breakfast and dragged myself to bed.

Monday morning arrived and the urge confirm the days  appointment with the internet provider was met by the memories of an alto sax seeping from my brain and I thought better of it. I had heard more Kenny G  in one lifetime than should be allowed by compassionate human beings.

Returning that evening from a long work day I was greeted by a service order confirming that I now had access to the internet. I fired up my computer and navigated my browser to Google for my first search “Overdose Therapy Kenny G” which returned the following results after dropping duplicates: “Lots of Heavy Metal, Three Power Chords, cranked up to 11.” With a promise to apologize to the neighbors, I walked over to the stereo and began the recovery process.

*Provider, that kinda sounds drug related. Well in America anyway.
**Hey, I have seen enough cop shows to know the lay of the land.

Forward Progress

Corporal Daniel Thomas of the National Galactic Federation sucked on a freeze-dried coffee cube and pondered the days activities. Nothing was planned. This was not out of the ordinary aboard the USS Librarius. His two-year mission was to boldly go where no librarian had gone before. As a consequence of too much sitting he was stressing his butt cheeks  like no man had stressed his butt cheeks before.

For the sake of his sanity he had taken to reading through the libraries vast collection of electronic records. He belonged to the record keeping section of the federation, the American Sun StoreHouse. Yes he worked for ASS. The acronym was unfortunate and not well thought out but their mission was important none the less. They were in charge of the accumulation, storage and preservation of all known collected data generated by earth before its sun burnt out. That’s ASP for those keeping track of acronyms. Yes, fairly tame.

Up until this mission all he had known about the suns extinguishment was that it had caught the earths inhabitants somewhat by surprise. The only survivors of the planet where those that were off world attached to some government mission or on a private space tour. This had always baffled him. It wasn’t as if they were without warning. Although pretty quick, light from the sun did take some time to reach earth and the process of fuel burning out wasn’t like switching off a light. There would be some dimming for a while which would have prompted people to get their shit together.

He had stumbled upon the explanation quite by accident and much to the surprise of the scientific community. The details of how he came to his conclusions had not yet been published and currently he was dancing around that subject as long as he could. For the moment he was front and center on the world’s stage and he intended to stay in the spotlight as long as possible.

He had started a daily habit of reading through the diary section of the personal records collection. These were all known recovered diaries of the last inhabitants of earth. Initially it was slow going. They were quite cryptic and seem to be encoded. They began to make sense once he figured out they were ordered by the age of their authors. Since most of them he had been started when the authors where teenagers, the word “like” was used to fulfill every part of the structure of a sentence, often multiple parts of the same sentence.

This realization allowed him to skip forward to their later collections where the use of the word “like” became infrequent and took on its traditional role in a sentence. Clarity was much more frequent. It was here that he began to formulate his idea or what the scientific community would call his hypothesis.

He noticed many references to the use of devices called smart-phones. It seems its use had replaced most forms of human interaction. There were many examples of authors chatting to friends solely through the use of email , chat sessions and something called “words with friends”. No location or venue seemed to be off-limits as to where these interactions took place. Some authors wrote of using their smart-phone to order and pay for a coffee while waiting in line at the coffee shop, thus making the minimal amount of human interaction required to order a coffee obsolete.

An idea , usually the result of the last gasp of a dying brain cell, appeared in Daniels mind sans thought bubble. How much of the earthlings normal attention span had now been occupied by these smart-phones?

Consulting the accident report section of the news archives,  he noticed a correlation between the rise of accidents and the rise in use of smart-phones. There were smart-phone related accidents during every activity that occupied human lives. Even sex. Don’t ask, you don’t want to own that imagery. The participants survived. Their relationships however did not.

People had become so addicted to their smart- phones they were not paying attention to anything else in their environment. Their lives had become one big commercial for mayhem.  His hypothesis was that It was entirely possible that any changes to the intensity of the sun went unnoticed by the earthlings.

Daniel found it morbidly interesting that all during history, the culling work of Darwin had been greatly usurped by a small handful of bright individuals and that the ultimate culling was brought on by another small handful of bright individuals. So while the meek did not inherit the earth it was certainly the geek that brought it to its knees.*

* The author is proud to call himself a geek and contends that the bible contained  a typo and it was always intended that the geek inherit the earth.

Note: There is some suspension of scientific opinion required for this one.
Scientists agree that billions of years from now the sun will expand into a red ball and die. The earth is going to get much hotter making global warming look like a slight fever. The oceans will boil away. Planets near the sun will burn and become the dream of every executive at Kingsford, big orbiting chucks of charcoal.

Note 2: While writing this at , where else, a coffee shop the author observed a group of customers, arranged in a line of tables, all of them concentrating on whatever they were typing on their Macbook Airs. They did not appear to be interacting with each other but since he could not see what they were typing who knows. The icing on this surreal slice of life cake was that they all were bobbing their head in time to the Salsa music blaring out of the shops speakers.