Originally posted on Facebook
Bleeding out loud, louder...
This has been my luck for the past year. When my battery died a friend offered to drive over and jump it for me. When she arrived she thought I had jumper cables. Nope. So we went to the local auto supply place. It was about a fifteen minute trip from home to purchase and back to my car. When we returned, my car had a boot on it. Its one of the last Scarlet Letter sort of public shamings we still allow. People see a bright yellow "kick stand of shame" attached to your car and they know you're broke, irresponsible, down on your luck or some varying combination of all three. The point is my battery died and in the time it took to spend more money to take care of the problem of being able to get to paying gigs, San Francisco put my car into the poverty stocks making a big problem bigger and more embarrassing. I just imagined people in smart cars driving by after going to an organic farmers market and saying "ha ha" in the most condescending accent you can think of.
I wonder what percentage of people who jump off the Golden Gate Bridge had SF parking ticket woes?
The friend I was with finally understood what I meant when I said, I'm having a bad luck year, because her face went blank and she uttered a barely audible "oh my god" when she saw the boot.
So THAT has been my luck this year.
The flip side of all this has been the amount of support both financial and emotional friends have given. Another friend arrived and with her triple a card took care of the battery situation. It was incredibly sweet but the car was still stuck to that spot till I maxed out a credit card to take care of the boot. Being able to connect with people over the phone or via the internet has saved me more than once during all this change.
As I write this now I am sitting inside my car with my laptop on my lap top. Its finally fulfilling its intended purpose I guess. I am writing because its a comfort and at this point its all I can do. You see, Saint Vincent DePaul is scheduled to pick up some of my furniture today between 11 and 1. They will call when they're close by. Problem is my phone, the replacement phone I finally got from Verizon, isn't working. Yup. And its not one of the old familiar problems the phone use to have where I could still get calls and sort of make out what was texted to me through the cracked screen, nope. Its completely new issues that render it a paperweight. All it says is the modem did not turn on and then it gives some cryptic number and letter combination that I am sure would tell me something about the problem if I was R2D2 or could go on line but I've already saved money by cutting the internet to my place and by the time anyone read this perhaps I will have had a chance to sit at a cafe and reflect on how stressful but how nicely everything worked out in the end. Yeah, fuck that. Do I wait here for 1 to come and go and hope the truck comes even though they are getting god knows what sort of message from my phone at their end? Do I drive to a cafe and attempt to get on line and contact them some how? If I don't get this stuff out of here I'm going to be in real trouble. At this point plan b is just to drag it out to the beach after midnight. Didn't Burning Man originally start down at Ocean Beach? I think the guy wanted to make his brake up with his lady permanent enough in his mind that he could cleanly move on. I don't know the exact story but he ended up hauling all her stuff out to the beach and invited a bunch of friends to watch him burn it. It was such a success they reenacted it again the following year. Eventually San Francisco stepped in and said, we see way too much spiritual healing & expression here and something unique to the culture we like to tell ourselves we have so it has to go! And out it went into the desert to become whatever it has become in your view.
I turned the phone off for a while and turned it back on. Thats what we've become as a generation of tech users whose first instinct is to just turn something off and then turn it back on; we apply it to other places in our world where it doesn't work. Why do you think the Republicans keep talking about shutting down the government? They somehow think it will reboot to 2000 or something. I also love the word reboot. You're turning it off and then on. You do that all the time. Only when something doesn't work do we use the overly grand and wishful sounding, reboot. Anyway, the reboot hasn't changed anything. It does feel warm. I think its a problem with the Droid x model. The Phone company wouldn't upgrade it even though the operator said my model is so outdated that in most cases the phone company just sends an updated model. Not in my case. In my case someone made the extra effort to search the warehouse for what really is not just a piece of shit but a firmly established frayed cord to my life line because you see I have to be moved out by Tuesday afternoon and this is putting a huge fucking blast of anxiety into my calm!
All it says is, starting RSD protocol support. Great. I'd like to start some support at this moment too, phone!
Someone once told me that you can directly measure a persons mental healthy by the number of objects they yell at in a day and how they yell at them. I won't lie. I've been very verbally abusive to my phone and our relationship is to the point where I yell at her in public all the time now. "You worthless piece of shit! I need you to do one thing right for me today and when the time comes you can't even fucking do that could you?"
Right now, just now, in this moment typing away to keep an anxiety attack from full on forming in the center of my chest, I realize how cut off you can feel in this world when your smartphone goes belly up. In an instant I feel like a refuge from my own life and no one can reach me. Not because I don't want to be reached but because my fucking piece of shit communication tool has failed during some of the most trying times in my adult life. Here is a serious idea. Why don't we pass a law telling the phone companies they can only release a new model phone every 5 years? Its not like this whole cellphone concept has even been fully worked out yet. We all wanted it to work because we were all poisoned by how cool the idea would be from sic-fi movies. Its marketing that told us these things are great not experience. And marketing continues to tell us how amazing these things are despite how many times they utterly let us down. You know, when the phone was a large plastic brick that was forever tethered to the wall by a braided cord that always tangled no matter what you tried, calls didn't "drop."
I understand we are now bouncing signals off of towers and satellites 22 miles up in space so we can send naked photos of ourselves to interested and uninterested parties and that is a miracle of science indeed but what is it about the DNA of cellphones that makes them work everywhere but in your own damn home? I once complained to customer service about this. The guy went through a check list of things that might be blocking my signal. I told him I live on the top floor and the second I walk out my front door into the hall I get a signal but the second I walk inside my place, I loose all bars on the phone. He actually asked me if I knew the lead content in my roof. Dude, I'm not renting from Lex Luther. Who they hell would build a lead roof in San Francisco? I don't know what his answer was because you know what? The call dropped.
Just now when I touched the phone it felt as if it was about to explode. For some reason the battery heats up sometimes. Nothing is running on the phone. No updates are coming through and I'm not on a call. I just suddenly feel a pleasant warm sensation in my pocket. The first time it happened I thought I was having a stroke. I was driving and had left the phone in my pant pocket. Cruising down 80 from a gig in Sacramento I felt something warm against my leg. I wondered if I had peed for a second there. As it got warmer an arm tingled for a second. I think that was the hand in warm water pee response happening but I interpreted as a stroke. I pulled over and as the heat turned from mild to, did I shove a nuclear rod into my pocket at that gig and not realize it, I remembered my phone was in my pocket. I took it out. Very hot to the touch, I tuned it off. When I, "rebooted" it later and called Verizon there response was that this was a known problem of the model and I should be cautious with its use. WTF? Its a known problem? I should be cautious? See here is the problem, America. Citizens have rights. Consumers have help lines.
If a battery warming up to such a temp that caution must be exercised when using the device, maybe the device shouldn't be out on the market yet? But this is how America works now. The blame and responsibility gets shifted to us, not the manufactures or companies that bill us. It happens everywhere and for some reason we let it. Take flying for instance. If you have a seat in the emergency exit row, you know the speech you get from the flight attendant, right? They ask you if you are willing to help with the door in the event of an evacuation and if you don't think you are up for the task, you are free to be moved to another seat. So let me get this straight, OK? A multi billion dollar screening and security system put in place after Americas worst terrorist attack in history in which some of our civil liberties have been taken away to prevent future disasters could fail and if it does fail on this plane at this moment the entire system comes down to me being deputized to man the emergency exit door because I bought my ticket late on Priceline and thats where they always stick you?
Bull fucking shit!
Basically all these companies are selling us this marketing dream that communication is fun and easy when in reality nobody has really worked any of this shit out yet. Thats why every year they release a new iPhone; to work out the shit that didn't work and take the stuff from competitors that did work and charge us more for what they have the nerve to call new. Its not new. You just did a recall to fix the problem only we've all been trained so well as consumers that the recall part never happens. We just line up to buy the better version of the thing that still doesn't exactly worked as promised. Hell, Taco Bell took shitty late night cheap Taco's, wrapped it in even worse junk food and sells it to late night drunks and stoners at a record profit. We are now literally eating marketing.
Its 1240. They said they would be here between 11 and 1. How long do I wait after 1 for a truck that might not come? How soon before I can get back to the communal campfire of Facebook and bleed out loud a little more? I've taken the battery out of the phone and laid it on my front seat out of direct sunlight. I wonder how many pony express messages didn't make it? It wasn't like you could message customer service and then rage at them because an indian tribe killed the messenger trespassing on their lands.
A giant truck just went by me. For a second I thought this might be it but no such luck.
I've got emails out to people. A few pretty important messages I'm waiting to hear back on and travel plans I need to hear back on. Instead, I am sitting in my car writing my way out of an anxiety attack hoping a truck arrives shortly to remove a desk and bed that is going to be on fire in the avenues if it doesn't work out and all of this would be so much easier to deal with if my phone functioned liked it was suppose to function properly on the days I am in crisis mode. And it sounds ridiculous to my ear. I feel like the guy who always has an excuse for why something doesn't work out. Only, there real excuses! My phone will not turn on because its dual cores are arguing with each other is whats happening. I'm a digital refuge camped outside my own place sitting in my car like a private eye.
Water cooler van went by. People still use those in residential areas?
I'm considering putting the battery back in. Im considering going to a cafe now and rethink this over more coffee and something melted. Thats where the anxious mans appetite seems to go to naturally, anything warm and melty otherwise, I really haven't ate much lately and unfairly this has had no impact on my mid section.
Its now 1:01. If they have called I wouldn't know. If they drove by me it wasn't a large truck with the words St. Vincent DePaul on the side. If this is a test I fucking want to climb into a ball and "reboot" the fuck out of this day.
Eventually I decide to go to the Verizon store at the mall. Once there the guy makes all the same facial expressions I made. He tries everything he can think of and then suggests a factory reset. Its a word guys in slacks who work in Kiosks use instead of reboot because it seems smarter. Fine, I say. Do it. Oh, but you will lose your contacts, he tells me. Its better to be able to get in contact than to have them I figure so go ahead. After 10 anxious moments, that doesn't work. THIS IS THE REPLACEMENT PHONE I JUST GOT! So now I am waiting to have another new phone delivered to my address tomorrow only I won't be there because, wait for it, I have a funeral to attend. The guy tells me sorry and then says, its OK because the warehouse is open till Midnight! Awesome. So after not being able to deal with my furniture today, contact anyone for help in the moment or get support from my shitty shitty phone company, I will drive to a warehouse outside San Francisco tomorrow night after a funeral and pick up another model of phone that has let me down again and again and again?
The poor guy. He's been nice. My breath has to be shit for all the coffee I've been drinking and he's been patient with all my questions but now the guy blinks a few times in rapid succession looking for the customer training tool to deal with this moment. I can almost see his hard drive sputter behind his eyes. He smiles, sighs and in a human moment just tells me if he could give me his phone he would but that wouldn't really help me. True enough. So here I am a little after 2 and my breakdown, as it turns out, will occur in a mall once again.