Big Macs Beach Balls and Political Spin
While the genius at the bar was running diagnostics on my Mac to see why the dreaded beach ball was spinning, I inadvertently ran a few diagnostics of my own. On him. I told him the story of sending FB PMs to teachers and principals encouraging them to organize and join the international climate catastrophe walk-out. After I sent about the 40th message, I got locked out. I thought I had been sent to FB jail for sending so many activist messages. In fact, the global FB meltdown occurred at that precise moment. The entire world was locked out.
I told him this quasi-technical story as a way communicating while his machine and mine were talking back and forth to each other. I thought he’d have something to say about what might have caused the global ‘glitch.’ Instead:
Him: I don’t get involved in politics. Politics have nothing to do with me.
Me: Really? Nothing?
Him: I know it’s self-centered, but I tune it out. It has nothing to do with me or anyone in my family or anyone I care about.
I took a few beats of silence to, well, you know. Hit the reset button. But, What-The- Mac!
Recognizing that the barrier between us that firmly held our two laptops – one downloading information to the other – was too obvious a metaphor, and acknowledging that he didn’t come to work to be politically proselytized to by a customer while he was trapped behind that barrier, I scanned my brain and my soul for guidance.
Me: I guess you have health insurance with your job.
Him: Yes, although I have to pay for it. A lot.
Me: Do your parents have health care benefits?
Him: Yes. Medicare.
Me, inelegantly: You know, someday, you’ll be old, too.
Him, casually: Oh, I fully expect not to have Medicare or Social Security benefits available to me by then.
Me: And, so you don’t see how politics affects you?
Him: No, not really. I just ignore it.
Silence. Scanning my emotional hard drive. Seeing the dreaded beach ball whirling inside my own head. Warning. Never sure if I should do a soft restart or hard reboot. I opt for a full-on shutdown while he hands me off to another genius, so he can “go to lunch.”
I know we’re supposed to be listening to and talking with people with whom we disagree if we’re ever going to sync up. But those two little computers doing that same kind of thing represent why it’s so hard. They hold an unfathomable amount of corrupt information that gets transmitted back and forth through lock-step algorithms whose rhythms seem hopelessly out of sync.
It’s all so exhausting.