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Nanoburger Ringtone

I have misplaced my mobile telephone. In the back of a cab, stomach of course. And, yes, I was drunk. And, no, I’m not an upright person and, yes, it is unlikely that I will ever amount to much.

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.

16 Responses to “Nanoburger Ringtone”

  1. screamish says:

    good luck with not replacing your phone…I excavated my old blue immortal Nokia in an anti-technology frenzy. It does nothing except recieve calls, and occasionally make them, if I can wrestle it away from power hungry twin babies.

    But it doesnt turn my friends into puppies and now you mention it that sounds kind of cool…

  2. kev_martin says:

    welcome to the really-not-so-bad extreme minority of individuals who exist without mobiles. I suspect, as you mentioned, you won’t miss it a bit.

  3. Vashti says:

    I advocate slipping quietly into a store and just buying one outright, no plan etc…I have done this twice now and noone bugged me, the last time I chose an Iphone. I control it, it doesnt control me. Technology is my slave.

  4. YB says:

    When single, a mobile is for booty calls or organising a complex social life. When attached, it is to contact your S.O. If your S.O. doesn’t request you have one, they are work slave collars. Sounds like you can do without. Book suggestion: Hyperion, Dan Simmons. The future, with the scary, but with people leading ‘real’ lives. Fav book ever.

  5. helenrazer says:

    Thank you for the recommendation, YB. I’m very wary of science fiction and basically will not read it unless it’s Neuromancer.

  6. Not only am I afraid of an ever-encroaching dystopian society littered with origami nanobots and Skynet burgers, while the art of integrity and conversation falls unceremoniously by the wayside, I am DEATHLY AFRAID of mobile phone salespeople (my phone is falling apart, and I’ve yet to get on with the business of upgrading it for the very reasons you mentioned). Also, I have a chronic fear of Ke$ha, but I’d probably just jump on a chair as one would upon seeing a mouse. Just so she didn’t get her unique brand of rabies on me.

    Love your work as much as you heart NY, Ms. Razer.

    xo

    Haylee

  7. Thank crap it’s not just me who does sweet fuck all. Oh, apparently it’s called “doing a doctorate”. Apparently there’s a shitload of work involved. I’ll do it tomorrow. When you’re writing yours.

  8. Ha, that sounded like I crawled out of my own arse for long enough to type a few words and then crawled back up.

  9. helenrazer says:

    I have no problem with seeking comfort in one’s own fundament.

  10. Now that’s a word I should use more often.

  11. Tone says:

    In our modern society, there’s only one thing worse than not having a mobile phone: having an old mobile phone.

    You’ll have to pry my still functioning Nokia 5110 out of my cold, dead hands. Of course, given that being seen in public with such a relic is a one way ticket to social leprosy, I’m not expecting to have to give it up by force any time soon. Unless, of course, it becomes so uncool that it’s cool again in an ironic way.

    That, and I have confidence in being able to twat someone over the head without fear of smashing my brick into a million pieces. I’d love to see a prissy-pants iPhone user with the cajones to use their device as a weapon.

  12. crunchy says:

    I don’t have a mobile, and I refuse to admit I can even afford one. Mobile phones have made everyone rediculously vague and never on time. They wander about asking each other where they are until they finally make visual contact, while the rest of the world (all what, four of us now?) had agreed on a time and place and were there half an hour ago.

  13. LaFondah says:

    Make that five, Crunchy.

  14. Nick the cabbie says:

    Go to any cab depot and demand to look in the bosses sons bottom drawer. You can swap yr nude selfies for someone elses. He may have the odd laptop too.

  15. captainfez says:

    The ubiquity of tech (also coupled with the formerly unbelieveable “yes, you can download pretty much anything you want, free” access to certain cultural creations) will surely either make the next generation the most gimme-gimme-gimme EVAH or result in them being more possessions-are-transient than at least the three generations they followed.

    I’m hoping for the latter.

    But you know, I just replaced my phone, so I’m not to be trusted.

  16. Jas says:

    …jittery Christians who build origami nanobots with their dexterous thumbs and play Ke$ha ringtones from their nostrils…

    *sigh* Was I the only one who got incredibly and fan-tash-tiquely turned on reading that?

    I just want to dance around my non-descript bedroom in Moonee Ponds with rainbow coloured scarves singing “Jittery Christians… la la laaaaaaaaaaa”

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