Tuesday, January 8, 2013


Verily, merrily thrilled with the acquisition of their Kindle Fire HD and wanting me to share their pre-Christmas joy, my parents in Indiana asked if I might be interested in such a gift a few weeks prior to the holidays, as I honestly didn’t need anything nor had I asked for anything specific.  “I spend more time on the Kindle than I do on the laptop” my Dad suggested, helpfully.  “I check my email, play games and even have the Fort Wayne Obituaries loaded so I can see if anyone I know has dropped dead!” he added cheerily.  (And that would be yet one more reason why I love my parents!)

As I did used to enjoy playing interactive backgammon on the computer with my friend Cindy in Toronto (until I realized that my internet provider was tracking my game play), and as I did eventually find a free site where I could whup the bejeezus out of the world’s dumbest Artificial Intelligence (provided I sat through 60-second advertisements every other roll of the dice), I did miss the game...
“You’ll be surprised at just how far advanced technology has come!”

Logging groggily onto my laptop poot with sleepy seeds in my eyes last whatever weekend afternoon (don’t judge me, I’ve been on hiatus!), I read the cheeriest message from my favorite online company, EAT24, who spoke directly to my tummy:

“Hi Penny:  We were just thinking about you, and we thought you might be hungry.  We also thought you might be too busy to read a boring long-winded email.  So how about we just shut up and give you a coupon.  BOOM.  That’s the sound of your wish being granted.”
Oh, at last, at last, the World Wide Web had welcomed me into its icy-cold, Borg-like animatronic bosom!  This boded ever-so well for my upcoming Christmas present!  The Universe was welcoming me out of the Paleolithic Era, and quite literally offering me Kindle FIRE and FOOD!!!

And specifying my late lunch order to include ricotta cheese on the pepperoni pizza; un-selecting a salad (hey, it’s not like I was on a date – pajamas don’t judge) and adding a Diet Coke to my delivery (call it a primal chick instinct), I didn’t even bother with the “BOOM” coupon, as I’d already begun to salivate in eager anticipation of my delivery!

Well, clearly, this was my mistake somehow, as the selected restaurant had already delivered to my apartment three times before.  And retyping all of my information, I was met once again with the same response:

Well, “BOOM” all you want, but come hell or high water I was bound and determined to gnaw on the carcass of the best cheesiest pizza delivered to my door!  And opening a chat box with EAT24, they apologized ever so profusely, promised that nothing like this would ever happen again and all problems would be immediately resolved.

“Just place your order as a pick-up for now, and I’ll make sure that the restaurant knows it will actually be for delivery” the helpful on-line representative typed.  “Please let me know when you’ve submitted your order.”
“Done” I replied in the chat-box a few minutes later, as a lengthy pause took place.

*ring, ring, ring*
Bolting into the living room to answer my land line, I was greeted with the following exchange from an unknown wireless caller:  “Hi, I’m calling from ‘Pizza Al Forno’, to confirm that an order for Penny is actually for delivery?” the gentleman wondered.

“Yes, that’s correct, and someone should have alerted you to that via the World Wide Web” I explained Spock-logically with one raised analytical eyebrow.
“OK, yeah, got that, but as your purchase was supposed to be a pick-up, we didn’t charge your debit card with the delivery service.  You gotta provide $2.50 in cash to the driver.”

“Not a problem” I nodded to the phone.
“Oh, and the $2.50 is for the service delivery only, and doesn’t include any financial compensation to the driver as a tip” he added, crossing his tee’s and dotting his I’s.

“Yes sir, I understand” I added compliantly, lest anyone be tempted to whack me with a club and drag me by the hair until ten quarters fell out of my pajama pants. 
With my EAT24 Agent still logged into the chat box, I padded back to the laptop to read a message that basically stated that I should relax in comfort, as my order had been placed, my food was already being prepared and I needn’t bother with a care in the world, as sustenance would soon be on its way directly to my doorstep.

“Thanks for all your help” I typed sarcastically – a subtle art most often lost in this digital age without a stupid animatronic emoticon rolling its eyes.
“Anytime!” the Agent responded happily.

“Um, you do realize that this is a shit-load of unnecessary work from a service that’s supposed to make ordering food easier?” I nudged.
“LOL!” typed the Agent.

Oy!  Insert stupid animatronic emoticon rolling its eyes...!
Now, I know I’m a dinosaur, but WTF?  Do people even bother to use a land line anymore? Or must every person-to-person discussion be prefaced with a text message that says “can u chat L8r 2nite?”  Well here’s a novel idea:  pick up the damn phone and ask me!  And if I answer, I'm apparently available!

God knows that elegant cursive writing has gone the way of the Dodo bird unless you’re 40 or so (I must insert a special “Thank You!” to my sister who wrote sooo beautifully in my Birthday card!); but I couldn’t quite let go of the image that eventually I’d be buried or cremated, possibly next to a placard etched with the ever-so solemn words “OMG!  WTF?  RIP, BFF... TTFN...”

But I digress!  And I attempt to evolve.
Approximately forty minutes later, my land line rang yet again, this time from yet another unknown wireless caller.  “Hi, pizza delivery – your security code isn’t working and I’m outside your gate” the driver announced.

“I’ll be right there” I sighed, throwing on a winter coat over my pajamas and plodding out into the rain; six bucks in hand to cover delivery and tip.
“I pushed the star key and the pound key, but nothing worked” the driver shrugged.

“Didja ever maybe consider the big, bright-red, jolly candy-like button that says “talk” and my two digit number written here on the receipt?” I shrugged back.
“Hunh.  Let me see...” he mused, as he held my pizza hostage in a wet plastic baggie while he played with the keypad.  (Once again, sarcasm lost; yet lo and behold, there was my answering machine!)  “Oh.  Well, sorry to make you come all the way out here in the rain” he shrugged again.

Having celebrated “Orphan” Christmas Day with a group of friends at a festive Mexican restaurant (with a mariachi band!), I was finally feeling more in touch with humanity.  We’d enjoyed lively conversation!  We’d feasted communally upon the never-ending baskets of tortilla chips and bowls of salsa!  (And I’d only scorched my arm hairs once on my fourth strawberry flaming margarita!)

And walking home safely with my friend Lon who was house/dog sitting near my apartment building, we parted ways with a hug, as I padded into my bat-cave to warm my chilly hands over my spiffy new Kindle Fire HD.
“OOOGH!” I think I said, tappy, tappy, tapping the screen.  “Make Fire go” I commanded, as a myriad of screens presented themselves as to registering the product, connecting to my router, negotiating with my computer, additional options of charging the tablet with my cell phone cord, and logging onto WiFi troubleshooting.

Yeah, OK, insert stupid emoticon scratching its chin...

Yet pragmatic as I may be, logical to the point of obnoxious and perhaps overly confident in a once-a-year tequila-induced haze, I was yet again, bound and determined to make sense of my world.
Me make Fire. 

Make Kindle Fire go!
Me need help.  (Me pour vodka?)


Now as a general rule, I’m not one to mix alcoholic spirits, but somewhere in the darkness of my humble bat-cave as I slept off my holiday hangover, alchemy was afoot.  Mr. Kindle had met Ms. PC, and whilst I’d shut down the poot early in my stupor, they’d apparently discontinued negotiations.  And whilst I’d required a full night’s sleep (and then some) to reboot my pea-brain, upon wakening, apparently Mr. Kindle Fire Pants required four hours of solid battery charging through the router all by himself. 
Yes, yes, feel free to once again insert stupid emoticon rolling its eyes...

And high-maintenance as Mr. Kindle appeared to be, I acquiesced and gave him some alone time in the cave.  “OK.  Me wanted to continue to carve wheel anyway” I sighed.  (I had a tasty port wine cheese ball in the fridge.)
Yet not long after, Mr. Kindle woke up.

Hunched over a high-def screen of seven inches like a complete Neanderthal afraid to go near fire, I tentatively scrolled through options of Amazon Apps.

“Free backgammon – good” I clicked with a metaphorically hairy knuckle.  “Free slot machine – good” I clapped happily, having not ventured out to Las Vegas in about two years.  “Free ‘Old School Video Poker’?” I pawed my chin, disbelieving that such a relic might still exist in our world.  But, free Euchre?  A card game that I’d grown up with that was dear to my heart?  “Get App!” I pounded my chest with my fists triumphantly!  (Ow!)
Perhaps my parents were correct all along.  Technology had come quite a distance.  Not only had the icy-cold Borg infiltrated my humble cave, but they had even time-travelled me back to my childhood!

Yes, yes, you may insert melancholy emoticon if you need to.
Setting Mr. Kindle aside (after what felt like ten minutes, but turned out to be four hours), I logged on to the poot once again for sustenance. 

“Hungry?” EAT24 wanted to know.

I suppose there comes a time when we youngish old farts (I just made it to 47!) have to step out of the ice age, and learn to assimilate with the inevitable.
And choosing to attempt to unite the paradoxical planes of existence between my cozy comfort zone and the Mother Ship of Automaton Zombies, I logged on to Yummy.com as a satisfactory compromise.

Yes, I would have food!  I would purchase groceries online!  And I would even cook it all by myself.  After all, I had made FIRE go!!!
Does anyone out there have an emoticon that screams “bad idea?”

With a metaphorically hairy knuckle once again rapping at a computer screen, I tapped on food stuffs, entered my debit card, and reclining for a moment, looked forward to the evolutionary growth that a simple primate such as myself was destined to achieve...  Never again would I dwell in the darkness, when Enlightenment was but a key stoke away!   
I do believe that within thirty minutes or less, I discovered (again) that I am absolutely, 100%, a born and bred, hardcore spoiled brat. 

The three-pack carton of Egg Beaters were threatening me with immediate use within the next seven days to “maintain safety” -- lest I care to take my chances with god-knows what – yet they also delightfully neglected to include even the minimalist of preparation directions (i.e. low or high heat; or maybe an approximate cooking time for “safety”?); as apparently I needed to check out cooking instructions on the website.  (Oh, FFS!)
Meanwhile, turning my lusty carnivorous appetites toward the package of Farmer John uncooked bacon, I scratched my head in confusion as how to even open the damn thing.  I hadn’t cooked bacon in probably twenty years, but the hungry primate in me was already ripping and tearing at the corner, only to discover pink piggy juices dripping down my arms...

Yep, that was the end of THAT!  (I can hear you laughing, Mom and Dad...)
Yet the day wouldn’t be a complete loss.  With a tub of “I can’t believe it’s not Butter!” waiting patiently in the fridge, I pulled out its hearty companion -- Pillsbury Crescent dinner rolls.  And flashing back to childhood once again, I lovingly recalled my Mom so effortlessly thwacking a tube of breakfast cinnamon buns on the counter, popping out the dough, and arranging them on a baking pan for my sister and me to ice whilst we slobbered at the aroma.

Oh, where’s that melancholy emoticon?!
Unfortunately, only half of my genetic make-up comes from my Mom...

Despite all of the thwacking, smacking and essentially beating the crap out the Crescent rolls, every effort proved unsuccessful as the tube continued to roll-over, show it’s soft underbelly, and essentially mock me.

Luckily, the other half of my DNA comes from my Dad...
Turns out, one mighty blow from a hammer in my Sears Ladies Tool kit does the trick!!!

Grateful to be back to work (WHERE THEY FEED US!), and planning on a face-to-crackly-monitor at my local Mickey Dees drive-thru for dinner tomorrow,
~Troglodyte P

p.s.  I had a couple of photos to upload for this post, but Google seems to be having its own "OOOGH" moments!!!