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October 06, 2009
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Remember when you'd go to the grocery store, fill your cart with Lucky Charms and Oreos and red meat and hum along to the cheese song on the overhead speaker? When you'd walk the aisle with your big cart and take your time and actually make eye contact and say excuse me when you reached in front of someone for something? Then when you check out~THERE she IS..PATSY!! Same beehive hairdo for the last 30 years with a pink or purple little bow clip on the side, smackin her gum and callin you "hon" & "sweetie", reaching for the big long silver microphone and ask for a price check on the mayo just to be sure her fingers were punching in the prices right on the 9 key register she's mastered with one arm behind her back while bagging the rest of your groceries with her other hand. She always asked about your mom or dad or told you what a nice shirt you had on and hand you your bags and wink at you as counted the change into your hand. I found out that Patsy died last week but I wouldnt know, none of us would really. We do everything for ourselves. We rarely make it to a register with a human anywhere we go, we check ourselves out on the honor system , we pay a machine and we bag our own mayo. We get in and get out and try not to make eye contact and we barrel through more intensely focused on text messaging than manners as we haul and fill our own tote bags we brought from home. Once we leave we stop for gas. There was a time we'd pull up and get out of the car and go inside and see Ted, you know TED!! The guy with the greasy overalls on and the hankerchief hanging out his back pocket with a trucker hat on (had he only known 10-20 years ago some pig named Ed Hardy would make millions off a hat that used to cost $2.99 and bought for the purpose of keeping your head warm instead of making a fashion statement that you are an IDIOT for spending $200 for a hat). We'd hand him the money and tell him which pump we were on and how much. Then we'd go out and pump and the car would fill up gulp , gulp, gulp with the click click click of the numbers dials spinning in front of us. We try to stop exactly on the dot but sometimes we go over and we'd dig in the console of the car and find the extra change and run it back into Ted and tell him about the overage. He'd wink and throw the change in the cash register and you'd go on your way. Well ...now, you know how it is, pull up, slide your card, punch in your zip code or pin number , start pumping and while pumping check or send a text, no Ted. OH and remember Carol?? yeah you remember CAROL!! The slightly plump always smiling perfectly polite receptionist you'd say hello to every morning on the way into the office. She had the plant on her desk and a phone to her ear, the big ones with the shoulder sponge on it so she could hold the phone and type or write long hand at the same time. Today we all tap an ID badge and slide up and down elevators in big shiney buildings and slink away to our offices or dark gray cubicles without saying a word to anyone and log into your computer with your SSO# and start your mornings with emails. Poor Carol, I wonder what happened to her. We get to work we email all day we get home we email all night and in between we text mad. We're so surprised and somehow oddly proud when we see our phone bill statements and see just how MANY texts we've sent for the month. I've had entire arguments from beginning to end via text. People are breaking up and hooking up via text or is it "sext". If we call we have a caller ID and never pick up, why would we when we can TEXT someone. So many texts and so many emails that Shaniqua is down to four days a week. You remember Shaniqua... BIIIIIIGGG black woman, hair with an orange tint in braids with big looooong red nails all squeezed into her United States Postal Service uniform. She'd always say "chiiiiiiiiiiiiiilllllllllllllldd they aint makin this mail any lighter today". You'd give her some lemonade and ask about her sweet twin daughters Kia and Porche. Word is that with the price of the stamp reaching for 50 cents and the USPS nearly 3 billion in debt that "snail mail" will be no longer. Where WILL all those coupon packets go then? I wont bother you with Trudy at the bank because you probably didnt even know she existed in the first place as you set your account up "online", you check your balances, have direct deposit and ask for more credit all on the computer. There was a time when you could take your dog out and he could put out a big steaming loaf of shit on the curb or your neighbors yard or some public place and you'd be so proud of him and we'd walk off all happy that he got those brown logs out and he was as happy as you were. But now there's little posts with green boxes atop of them with baggies hanging out and a sign to tell you to pick up your own shit and throw it away or you'll get fined. What happened to the shit fairy and WHAT was her name?? There MUSTVE been a shit fairy because we never had to pick up the shit before and we always left it there and it was gone a few days later. Did she get fired? That is the last straw for me really, picking up the squishy loaf of shit, feeling it squish between my fingers as I clean every blade of grass of the brown smudge so I dont get fined, carrying the bag at arms length until I can make it to a trash can, but DAMN it there's THREE CANS all different colors.. a green one, a blue one and a brown one and they all mean somethinng about recycling and what can go in it and what cant. The shit is brown so I'm thiking brown can equals compost but the bag is plastic so that means green can... where did the shit fairy put it? I know I know, technology is great but we've lost the humanity. We lost Patsy and Carol and Ted and Shaniqua and Trudy. We've lost friendships and relationships, made business deals or got laid all by typing something through our cell phones. It's a lonely world out here I'm proof as I'm sitting here writing this to you and you have the time and interest to read this far when you could be turning off the computer, calling your sister or brother or neighbor or reading to your kids. But you wont because you have three more friends approvals on Facebook  to decide on and you're staying tuned to find out what I have to say when I find out why they fired the shit fairy.
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