Saturday, August 27, 2016

Inadvertent Snotty Text Message, Self-Righteous Drumming, Everyone Please Stop Moving Here

Today, because the overwhelmingly rich, white, hipster gentrifiers of my once gritty, blue-collar neighborhood decided to hold a self-congratulatory “Sustainability Festival” at the park next door and close down all of the streets near my grocery store, I had to drive two miles out of my way to a different store, wherein I could not find the coffee aisle and everything was all weirdly configured, triggering a near-meltdown. All I wanted to do was get this stupid, routine task out of the way, but my game was all off because I couldn’t find anything and the bread was in the wrong aisle. I sent Mr. Typist the following angry screed via text (swears redacted for the sensitive.)

“This is complete bleeping bleep-bleep. Every street around QFC is shut down for some crap ‘sustainability festival’ at that stupid park, with those stupid bleeping Pronto bikes I just want to blow torch, so I had to go to the QFC on Holman and had to wait for three light cycles to make a left turn because everyone on the bleeping planet lives here now thanks to bleeping Amazon. Bleep these people.”

Then, about a half hour later:

“I’m about to have a meltdown. I can’t find anything in this bleeping store!”

I ignored my phone for the rest of the torturous grocery shop, and when I got home, I burst through the door ranting to Mr. Typist about how furious I was that my whole morning was thrown off because a bunch of self-righteous liberals wanted to pat themselves on the back over the fact that they compost. (At which point they started drumming out there, which made me even more apoplectic. There is nothing more self-righteous than drumming at a sustainability festival.) He said something about a weird text message, and I checked my phone. He had sent me three, properly sympathetic return texts. I had replied to all three with the following:

“Thanks for your msg. I’m driving, but I’ll get back to you when I get off the road. No text is worth a life. It Can Wait.”

After laughing my arse off at the high-and-mighty tone of the text, I was finally able to track it down to an AT&T  app on my new phone called “Drive Mode”, that apparently (and creepily) somehow knows when I’m driving, and automatically responds to texts with that preachy, condescending message. Before Mr. Typist realized it was an automated message, he had taken umbrage at my snooty tone and harbored uncharitable thoughts such as “Since when did my wife get so formal and preachy? Jeez. I was just trying to be nice to her.” For which I don’t blame him a bit. So, if any of you ever text me and get a holier-than-thou, shaming reply about how “It Can Wait”, complete with overly-dramatic capitalization, please forgive me. It’s not me talking. It’s my app! (Ack! Now I am left to wonder how many friends I have alienated by inadvertently sending them a snotty text while I was driving.)

Also, I know, ship sailed—but everyone please stop moving here. I lived in this neighborhood long before it was hip. When it was all fisherman, longshoremen, brawlers, outdoor cats, and church ladies driving way too slowly in giant station wagons. Ah, forget it. It’s hopeless.

The other exciting thing I wanted to tell you about today is an old Werner Hertzog documentary  called “Herdsmen of the Sun”, about a tribe in Fulani who take part in a ritual every morning in which the herdsman go around to each tent and say the following: “We welcome you. Did your day begin in peace? Did you wake in peace? May your wish come true. God’s Blessings. Are you well? Did you sleep peacefully?” I am convinced that the world would be a better place if we all rounded each morning on at least three people in our community with such a ritual. I would love nothing more than to arrive at my office each morning and have someone there to ask me those questions, and care about the answers. *Sigh* Industrialized living is making me sad this week.

--Kristen McHenry

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