Thursday, September 6, 2012


Eye contact was the first casualty. I haven’t made eye contact with another human being for two years. It’s hard to know where to focus my clever, witty retorts when all I see is the top of people’s heads as
they . . .

The cheery sound of tinny elevator music can be heard. Several fat minutes pass.

What was I typing? Oh right.

. . . hunch, as they hunch, over the glowing screen of their machines. They’re probably checking out my clever, witty retorts on Facebook or beating up on birds.

I blame the machines—also the birds.

The second casualty has been my self-esteem. My two-year old granddaughter, who does not speak any form of English that I recognize yet and still poops in her pants, brought one of the machines to me and showed me how to sling birds from a slingshot. I couldn’t do it. She laughed, took the machine and . . .

A clever ringtone of “Afternoon Delight” wafts through the sizzling airwaves. You wait impatiently for me to turn down the offer of free money from a bankrupt federal government.

. . . and with her tiny fingers flung birds about like artillery from the battle of the Bulge. I felt like a big, fat fingered old person.

The third casualty has been freedom: personal, private, individual, collective, group, and institutional. Gone.

Once we traveled long distances, through darkened streets, on rainy evenings without the benefit of the “emergency cell phone.” Those were primitive times. We existed by the seat of our pants, vulnerable to engine failure, flat tires, bad directions, fender benders, and weirdoes in farm houses with telephones. But we were free. Free to use two hands on the steering wheel. Free to use our blinkers. Free to get the news about the cupcakes for the party when you arrived at Sally’s house and not when you’re trying to merge onto I-4 at the Maitland Exchange.

Like I said those were . . .

I ignore you and answer the phone call about the cupcakes. And you wait and wait and wait and wait . . . and good news, Sally was able to get the Spider Man cupcakes on sale!

. . . primitive, primitive times.

I would finish this but there’s this new APP that’s all the rage where you try to blow up balloons with moose toots. It’s a scream. So let me just finish up this level, and I’ll be right with you . . . no, no, no, no, oh no . . . come on get in there, you moose toot, you . . .

Linda (Answer That!) Zern


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