I have misplaced my mobile telephone. In the back of a cab, stomach
Even less, goddamnit, without a telephone.
Nonetheless, I don’t think I’ll replace it. The thought is just so wearying. I find telephone salespeople as alarming as those youngsters from whom I once bought speed. They veer from extreme detachment to aggressive fascination in the blink of an LED. “Ugh, urf” they tell me; their creepy nimble fingers itching to kill phantom bugs. Then, some vile sound cue by Ke$ha sends them into a sales pitch and they shriek about Value Plans and, “4G 4G 4G”. And all I hear is the sound of late capitalism eating its own dick.
Some of us find shopping difficult.
Anyhow. As things are, I anticipate no escape from this PC for three solid months. So what IS the point of seduction by an iPhone reseller when I don’t move anywhere beyond my front room and I already have eight or nine distractions and sixty thousand unwritten words to taunt me?
I’m not A Busy Woman On The Go. I’m a person who sits on her twat all day switching between Minesweeper, porn and hysterical bouts of work. I don’t want to know about The Hottest Squash Courts in Town. I’d rather eat my own sick than have a celebrity chef tell me what I want for dinner. And I hardly need an app that turns the faces of the people I like into puppies. Or, whatever it is that Jobs and co are permitting these days.
So. I do not have a phone. This is hardly a subprime crisis of communications as I remain reachable through several standard channels. Including, of course, this polluted strait. However, I need to alert you to the loss of my phone. Just in case you sent a text and I responded not with athletic smut but with NOTHING.
Now you know: Helen’s phone is in the back of a cab and some of her craving for constant communication went with it.
It’s not that I feel comfortable with any of this. It’s not as though I’m smug or easy about my loss. In fact, I fret that my phone, which disappeared about a month ago, endured a brutal ride before being fenced in an exurban sports club. Possibly beneath the off-colour burn of a Plasma TV. It was exchanged for very little money as the women from Season Two of Desperate Housewives sailed across the screen. In a minute or two, the phone was in the uncaring hands of another and the funny messages it held from our last trip to New York were gone.
God. That’s depressing. My sentiment was sold by accident and I feel like the by-product of a nightmare that began in Marshall McLuhan’s lab.
It’s all very well and good to be upbeat about the future, isn’t it? BUT WHERE ARE THE MACHINES TAKING US?
On an outing to a very bleak zipcode to be sold for five dollars to a man called Tony. That’s where.
I do not have a phone. Perhaps I should just buy one and cease my worry about wireless dystopia. Why should I fret? It is likely that I’ll be (a) so dead or (b) so bored by talk of Cap and Trade that I won’t even notice the slow catastrophe that sees all our rotten insides commanded by a globalised Telco; our dirty New York memories outsourced and lost; the stuff of ourselves sold for next to nothing in a place that smells of dread and stale beer.
I am forced to consider the future every time I have a technological accident. With the loss of a phone or a Facebook collision, I am faced with a glimpse of the wreckage of the future. I see history produce a mean, enormous Orwellian mall. There’s nothing to eat but Skynet burgers and nothing to buy but mobile devices from jittery Christians who build origami nanobots with their dexterous thumbs and play Ke$ha ringtones from their nostrils.
I’ve tried to see it otherwise. I’ve tried to imagine a clean and happy singularity. It’s not that I think a rosy future impossible; just unlikely. That our cerebral processing power could be quantified is neither improbable nor disgusting to me. Do it. Take a short course in applied mathematics, make a Helen algorithm and improve the fuck out of me.
But this isn’t gonna happen.The future will simply build a more burger hungry version of myself. Just as the nanomachnes will build smaller nanomachines; the great mechanism of capitalism will build a precision Helen bot who eats, consumes and never dies.
My sister-in-law, who is an optimistic geek, lent me future manifesto The Singularity is Near. This, apparently, is the AI book to read. And lots of people love it for its promise of a sort of technological rapture. This universal super-intelligence just sort of settles on the cosmos and we all live, disembodied and perfect, in a ternary haze on little fluffy clouds or something.
I don’t know. I got bored and frightened and never finished the book. And all I could hear was Ke$ha and all I could taste was the burger cooked by the military mainframe.
I will not replace my telephone and I will not amount to much. But I will retain the unquantifiable value of my memories. I won’t leave them in the back of a cab.