Let me ask you a purely academic question: Hello?
— Dean Blehert

Friday, December 09, 2005

Why must there be a title?

I walk up to you and start to say "hello", but you put out a hand to silence me and say, "Title?" I say "Casual Greeting", and you say, "Greeter name?" I say, "Dean", and you say "Password?"

But this isn't a ridiculous scenario. In fact, it happens so often we don't notice it -- not in those exact words, but in quick exchanges of glances, frowns and smiles as we approach one another.

Lovemaking is pretty simple for an old married guy (I'm being that these days), but I remember when it seemed an unattainable dream. I could see being where I was (a horny kid) and I could see being where I wanted to be (with a woman who loved me and wanted to take what I wanted to give and to give what I wanted to take), but I had no idea how to get from here to there. It wasn't "there" that was unreal to me, but how it could be created out of the scraps around me, the aloof girls, my fat belly, my bad puns, my boredom with the hip small talk of my generation, my uncombable hair, the entirely unnatural fact that the girls I saw were always covered with clothing -- and even wore girdles in those days. (So far was I from touching intimate flesh other than my own that just the idea of a girdle and all it contained gave me a hard-on.)

If only I could have called a live tech. support number and said, "Look, I have this system, and I've got my input device working just fine, but how do I interface with other systems?"

A smart-assed Tech Support guy might have said, "Read the manual," to which smart-assed me would have said, "Hey, the only sex I'm getting is manual!" A wiser techie might have said, "What have you tried?"

I hadn't tried much. Asked for a date, been turned down, decided no one would want to date someone like me (and I wonder what someone like me would be like?). But there's the similarity: I feel that way (though with less desperation) about the Internet, swore off Yahoo for months after one impossible go-'round in which every password I entered or -- following screen instructions -- created was rejected.

I have no idea where this posting is going (posting o'er land and sea). One moral it might be pointed towards is that the maze of internet restrictions is good training for courtship and other barrier-strewn arenas. Another might be that this explains why computer geeks are geeks: Who needs a sex life (with its elaborate sense of a rigid protocol that is known to everyone but you, despite which you are expected, always, to make the exact right moves) when one has the Internet to solve?

1 comment:

Pam said...

Lovely little essay. Good start to the blog! I'll have to get a signup form up on the site before much longer.