Please stop. Please.
Your persistence was endearing if a little bit maddening. But now there are fires, big fires, and you’re just making the situation worse. People are losing their homes.
Dear People on the Bus:
Please shut the hell up. Some of us are trying to read.
Yes, I’m looking at you. I know you’re excited to be headed off to college in the fall. You should be! You’ve just finished high school and your entire life lies before you. It is a very exciting time. I envy you, truly I do.
I’ve already heard twice about the relative merits of various dorms at Purdue. And while I’m sure that is a very important topic for you right now, and one deserving a great deal of thought, it’s not very important to me. What is important to me is the book I’m trying to read. See me sitting there? I’m the guy with the book in his hands and the scowl of frustration on his face. The frowny face is there because you’re sitting right behind me and talking very loudly, much more loudly than is necessary or, frankly, polite. But I’ll try to be understanding. You’re only 18.
But I’m looking at you two as well, sir and madam. And, please pardon me for saying so, but you clearly don’t qualify for the only-18 excuse. If you’re going to chat that’s fine, but why must you sit across the bus from one another? (And while I’m at it, madam, please explain to me why your purse requires a seat of its own.) If you were to sit together, you could still enjoy one another’s company without having to shout across the aisle. It’s a crazy idea, I know, but please do give it some consideration.
As for you, Mr. Headphones Guy, I am 100% on board with your decision to wear headphones in order to drown out the yakkety-yak from the rest of the bus. If it were practical for me, I’d be doing the same thing. I’m right there with you, man. (Nice headphones, by the way. Are they comfortable?)
I probably wouldn’t do it that loudly. Yeah. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t. Mostly because, unlike you, I’m not so confident that everybody around me shares the same musical tastes. (We don’t. In case you’re wondering.)
Dear Microsoft Windows:
We’ve had some times, haven’t we? Oh, my stars, the times we’ve had.
Remember when I bought that secondhand PC in grad school, and I spent that afternoon figuring out how to get the Lost Treasures of Infocom running under your DOS emulation? That was fun. And remember how we used that same secondhand PC to work on my thesis from home when I couldn’t stand another 18-hour stint at the supecomputing institute?
Oh, wait. I used Linux for that. Nevermind.
Remember how I bought that laptop? The one I brought to Clarion? We had a lot of great times with that laptop. We even wrote a few books together! Man, that was an adventure. If only we knew then what we know now. Am I right? Yeah. You know what I mean.
But lately the times haven’t been quite so fun. The laptop has been getting creakier and creakier over the past year. And even though I’m extremely careful about what I download, and extremely selective, it seems the biggest problem has been downloading the software updates that you, my friend, insist upon. Every update, every service pack, makes things run more and more slowly. Every “improvement” made the laptop boot more and more slowly. To the extent that I actually had to factor the bootup time into my writing routine.
So last weekend I had to lobotimize the laptop, reformat everything, and start over. Which, okay. That happens from time to time.
But I wasn’t terribly worried. After all, we still have the netbook, right? And that little thing has been working like a charm for us. Portable, fast, never slow to boot. A nice little tool. And we’re making some progress on the new book there, aren’t we? Took us a while to get accustomed to writing on such a small screen, but it seems to be working.
Well, it was. Until last night. When, once again, I fell for your “urgent updates required” trick. When the downloading, unpacking, and installing of those crucial software updates ate up the entirety of my writing time. I hope you understand how frustrating that was for me. I was powerless to do anything, most especially write, while you ground away, secretly doing whatever it was you were doing. My time is limited. But I lost an entire evening because of you.
Which is why my next computer will be a Mac.
Dear Comcast High Speed Internet Services:
Have you considered changing your name? Forgive me, but it’s a bit misleading.
Or maybe seeing a doctor for a possible diagnosis? Because I think you may have Bipolar Disorder.