An Interest in Pinterest

August 12, 2014 § 1 Comment

No matter how hard you try you can’t hide on the internet. If you have a digital footprint, you can be followed and found. By anyone, any where. Pretty creepy. Facebook is a place where you can be your own number one fan. Twitter is a dump where people throw trash in 140 characters into the landfill of tweets. Linkedin is Facebook with a necktie (we talked about ties last week, you know what that means). Youtube is the poor man’s TV. Flickr is living out your fantasy of being a photographer. MySpace lost to Facebook a while ago. Google+ is for the anti-facebook community but it’s not really catching on, so I guess Facebook won again. Instagram is the hipsters’ Flickr.  Tumblr is for people with short attention spans. Yelp is for complainers. Tinder is for the horny. You get the idea.

What I’ve been spending some time on lately is Pinterest. I’ve rekindled my love affair with a visual to-do, to-want, to-buy, to-make list of things. Has anyone figured out how long it would take to do everything on each of their boards. Probably more time than I have to live.

Anyway… Behold the online incarnation of the vision board. You can’t tweet your darkest secrets but you can pin them. Basically Pinterest is for stealing. Stealing ideas and looks from websites, other pinners. Stealing DIY projects, outfits, hairstyles, recipes, stealing hopes and dreams. With brides you can only imagine how ugly this might get.

I’m okay with this digital kleptomania. In fact, it’s super fun. Here are a few reasons I have an interest in Pinterest.

1. Pinterest. Because it’s curbing my Facebook habit.

2. Pinterest. Because even though I’m surfing the web for hours on end, I feel like I’m actually doing something.

3. For every healthy recipe I pin there are five I should never make.

4. Pinterest. Giving people really lofty expectations for their first homes.

5. People WANT you to repin, unlike on Facebook where people get lynched for stealing a status update.

6. Pinterest. Because it’s never to early to start planning your wedding.

7. Making a visual list of projects you will never have time to complete because you spend too much time on Pinterest.

8. Pinterest. Because there are too many inspirational quotes to commit to memory.

9. If I pin enough hot abs and perky bums, maybe, just maybe I can will my body to be more toned.

10. Sure it looks great on the model, but probably hideous on me. I’m going to pin it anyway.

11. Pinterest told me eyelet skirts and cut off jean shorts are in for spring. I don’t want to get left behind.

12. Pinterest is making a bucket list of all the places I can only dream of seeing. Then making me more depressed because I’ll probably just live vicariously through these pictures.

13. I just didn’t know hair could do that until I pinned it.

14. Pinterest. Because maybe he’ll see the cut of diamond I like. Would save him a lot of trouble.

15. Pinterest. Because I haven’t lusted after famous dudes since I cut out pictures of hot guys from BOP and Tiger Beat in 5th grade.

16. I have Pinterest because I don’t have a photographic memory and I NEED to remember yoga kitten.

17. Pinterest. It’s the sorority that everyone who pledges becomes a sister. But they’ll make you wait.

18. Because there are so many shoes I just have to pin.

19. Pinterest. Because people who sell stuff on etsy don’t have much of a budget for advertising.

20. Pinterest because you can stop a friend from purchasing something horrible. Like an orange couch.

21. Because I will never EVER be able to afford that bag, but I want it sooooo bad.

22. Some animals just beg to be pinned up on a board. Specifically puppies.

Stay clever, Pinners! Promote small business and artists. Want, pine, like, steal and pin forth toward inspiration for all areas of your life. #PINNING!!!

Follow me on Pinterest!

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Selfie Issues

July 1, 2014 § Leave a comment

People were taking selfies before smart phones. Before they were even called selfies. They were taking them before you could even tell what you were framing for. Most of the time you held out your arm as far as you could stretch and squeezed in real tight to the person next to you, just praying that you didn’t cut yourself off, or had your finger in front of the lens. Then you had to wind the damn clicky wheel for 10mins before taking a second shot for safety. images

Pictures were for memories. Instant flashbacks to a happy day. This is why I enjoy the Throwback Thursday aka #tbt. It takes me back to a time when people didn’t waste good film on their food. I cringe every time I’m seated next to someone at a restaurant instagraming their meal. I’ll admit, I’ve taken part in this behavior, but it was before I realized how idiotic it was. There are only a few acceptable reasons to take pictures of your food.

1. You are a food photographer, it’s your job. You get paid for it.

2. For sentimental reasons others could not understand you need to share this picture with one or few individuals, in which case Snapchat is a useful tool.

3. You are ordered to by your nutritionist. No cheating.

Other than that, no one wants to see your food. Instead, savor the taste. Then work on your linguistics as you recall the meal. Try to use as many colorful adjectives as you can to more accurately describe the taste, smell, texture, and look of said memorable plate. I much rather hear a description of the best burger you ate than see a picture of it. Most food looks gross unless it’s dressed up for a photoshoot or super fancy already. And if you are at a super fancy restaurant, I’d say it would be a faux pas to take a quick snap shot of the amuse bouche.

As I was saying… Selfies, we’ve been doing it forever. Fascinated with our own features we’ve set forth on self-portraits of all kinds. Except now they’ve completely lost artistic integrity. There’s the selfie with the phone in the mirror, the serious selfie where the person is clearly not looking off contemplatively into the distance, and the belfie (butt selfie), which is apparently a picture you took of your own ass.

If the whole camera-lens-taking-a-bit-of-your-soul thing is true, we’ve screwed ourselves. I understand a healthy amount of narcissism is rather good. Helps your ego feel as though you have worth. If your self-esteem stocks are high you are a more productive and confident member of society. Instagram allows us to be photojournalists of our lives, creating a map of the places we’ve been and the people we know. Sure, selfies are going to be a part of that. But maybe we should limit it to only part.

I think it was only a year ago the first time I heard some one call this particular picture styling a “selfie.” I thought it was adorable. I don’t know if I thought it was adorable because I was under the impression that the quite hilarious person shooting the selfie made it up on her own, or if I genuinely thought it was a cute name for these half-assed pictures we were taking of ourselves. Unfortunately, as the media grew to exhaust it, the term lost all of it’s twinklely dust for me. When it was inducted into the dictionary, I rolled my eyes in disgust. It had become a novelty. Like those weird waving money cats in Chinatown.

Soon, I wanted to vomit every time I heard someone use it in a sentence. Fortunately for me, I surround myself with sarcastic people most of the time, so they would refer to it in jest and I could wash my puke down with laughter. Now I realize it’s just a really shitty picture you took of yourself. You look like crap because you can’t frame it up right. It’s way too close most of the time. And you have a hard time looking into the lens and smiling genuinely. Not only are you multitasking the holding the camera, pushing the button, and trying to be a model, but you are also looking at yourself in the little screen judging the picture before it’s even taken. Thus your selfie is the worst picture of you ever taken. Clearly, the shooter had some issues with the task.  big_cat_selfie_0-13836576388kgn4

Bottom line, you’ll get better results handing the camera off to someone else.

I like how, thanks to modern technology, we’ve managed to come up with a dual digital lens to help us frame our narcissism, but still cannot properly get rid of redeye. I always end up looking like the demon friend because of my blue peepers.

I would like to leave you with this thought, if you think it might be an inappropriate place to take a selfie. You should probably just leave the memory in your mind. Let’s be honest, it’s not called a “selfie” because of the wonderful scenery behind you.funny-jaws-woman-selfie-facebook

Also, do not Google image search “selfie” just don’t.

In appropriate places to take a selfie: A funeral. Jail. In front of an arson. A hospital. Nasty public restrooms, or on the toilet, or in the shower. Actually just stay away from bathrooms in general. With the cop who just pulled you over. Auschwitz. The delivery room. A homeless shelter. Anytime you have been clearly crying your eyes out. At the dentist. Driving. After sex.

Anymore you can think of?

 

Punctuation, Acronyms, and Emoticons

March 11, 2014 § 3 Comments

REPEAT ALERT: This post was first published on 3/9/2011 (almost 3 years ago to the day!) Recently a friend of mine was trying to dissect a few texts from a prospective lover and I thought we could all use a little reminder about textequette. Enjoy. 

Five years ago, I was against text messaging. I wasn’t alone. I was fighting the good fight along with some other people who just plain didn’t want to give the mobile companies a dime more than they had to for basic service. With the help of the Blackberry, an epidemic occurred. Our non-confrontational culture cowered behind 26 characters and a handful of punctuation marks. Text messaging, email, and whatever BBMing is joined the textual phenomenon of chat rooms and instant messaging. Texting has now evolved to include an acronym for just about any phrase, and little smiley faces to convey emotion robotically (I feel hap-py). Yet, how is it we still don’t have a sarcasm font? That’s the fatal flaw of the text.  And now, cursive has been stripped from elementary curriculum. There are 8 year olds out there who cannot write their names, but BBM faster than an executive in a company issued sexual harassment workshop. We’ve created these monsters.

I have to say texting isn’t all bad. It’s an incredible way to pass information. Addresses, phone numbers, a “hey, I’m here” and a “I can’t talk right now” are excellent examples of the usefulness of this tool. Asking a girl out via text message is an example of using it to be stupid. Talk about impersonal. Although somehow, we, the modern ladies of this world, are allowing it. Most women, if they were being honest, would really rather a phone call, and will try to condition you to do so, hinting at it whenever possible. But if you’re going to be stubborn about it, let’s lay some ground rules.

A little grammar goes a long way. You are basically writing me little love letters, spelling and punctuation count. If you’ve graduated from college it’s pretty much inexcusable. If you’ve earned your masters or above, there better be some five dollar words in there and plenty witty articulation.

You shouldn’t rely on emoticons and punctuation for your expression. We realize as a gender, you are nearly incapable of communicating your true feelings. If you are going to deny us the inflection of your voice, or reclusive body language you are going to have to try a little harder than a bold yellow face drawn with the skill level of a first grader. The over use of smiley faces and exclamation points tell me you have the vocabulary of a chimp and cannot expand your vernacular to include adjectives. Get a dictionary, there’s an app for that.

I hahaha, I do not lol. In fact, I’m pretty much oblivious to all acronyms. LMAO, DWIM, TXUL8R, BTW, OMG, WTF, ROFLOLTSDMC, and my favorite: BUDWEISER (because you deserve what every individual should ever receive). This is not, nor will ever be, the English language. You are slaughtering it.   The over use of acronyms gives you the likeness of a computer, generating a preprogrammed retort instead of a sincere reply. Flat out: texting in acronyms is annoying, call me, mister. Use your words, choose them wisely.

As a general rule, proof read your texts. Doesn’t take much. Auto correct could be the difference between and date and a slap in the face. When you assess the text and realize you have more than one unwarranted exclamation point, ellipsis or emoticon, just omit them immediately. And if you’re taking too long to compose a text, or type out an explanation, you should’ve probably just called in the first place.

You have to think about how a text reads: Hi Internet Bachelorette (wink face) it was nice to meet you (exclamation point) Let me know if we can hang out soon (exclamation point) But alone this time (El-oh-El) and (Bee-Tee-Dubs) You me and a bartender (El-em-Ess-oh) But for real (ellipsis) Give me a call (exclamation point, exclamation point, exclamation point) (smiley face) Talk soon (ellipsis) (wink face).

It doesn’t even sound human. This is not a joke, you sound like this. And why am I the one who has to call?! Are you that busy? Should I schedule a conference call with you and your mama? Is chivalry really that dead or are you just that much of a pussy? Guys, really, don’t be girls. There are enough of them, step up to the plate, be a man. Get your phone out of you pocket, go into your contacts, touch my name, hold to your ear, and listen for the ring. It’s a gamble, but you might get lucky and get my voicemail. Or you might reach me, live and have to have a conversation in real time… gasp!

Goldilocks and the Three Macs

August 10, 2011 § Leave a comment

I am going to straight up geek-out, and there is nothing you can do about my nerdom. Before you judge just remember, those boys with the comicon hangover would think I was adorkable. Pushes glasses up with a snort. Whatever, I’m a Mac. A loyal user since 2004, even though I went to a tutor twice a week for an entire semester to learn how to use the alternative interface. After I was taught how fun the bouncy icons were it was just easier and far better for my image not to go back. Now, I’m like an elephant on a PC. Two buttons on the mouse, right click – what? Trained imonkey.

I kept the iphone at arms length for as long as I could. My phone by comparison is pretty dumb. So I got fed up and went on to experience what everyone is raving about. At least I made it to the 4th generation. 2 human generations ago there wasn’t even color TV, so I’m thinking the phone better make me coffee before I hit snooze for the third time and deliver it to my lips before I hit it the fourth. That’s real progression. Sadly, there isn’t an app for that, but I am trying to sync it up with my Keureg.

As with any new device there’s a learning curve. Literally no tangible buttons on this thing, which really bent my logic and the predictatext isn’t always reading my mind like it should. There I am, just another user buried in a screen, bumping into people at crosswalks, finishing texts at traffic lights, not talking to the person I went to lunch with. icontact.

iprettymuchloveit. It really does everything except for that coffee thing. It has the capability to balance my checkbook if only I had a seeing-eye dog to tell me where the decimal point is. The thing is so damn dinky, I’ve given up on even reading my daily horoscope or emails longer than 5 words. I regress back to my cavewoman ways, carrying around the whole 15 inches of my laptop constantly on the search for wifi.

My computer has been my right hand lady for 4 years. I just upgraded her and she’s running smoothly in her old age, a great-great-grandmother to my spunky new phone, my notebook and pen their ancestor. Scratch that, I’m carrying around at least 4 college ruled grannys of varying sizes along with my computer that has a full keyboard and my phone that does pretty much everything the pen, paper and computer can do combined, but I can hardly even see it.

So I do what any gen-Yer would do. I buy an ipad. I tell myself, “I’m going green.” It really is just an oversized iphone but that’s where the magic lies. Size matters. I’m a medium sized person, I need a medium sized device. I named him Henry and I love to touch him. I’ve synced him with just about everything I can think of except my menstruation cycle, but that’s only a matter of time.

I love mypad. It’s all my notebooks in one. It’s every list I could ever need all in the same place with Google to boot. It has a great relationship with my phone too. I think I hear wedding bells. Anything Henry knows my iphone knows, they finish each other’s sentences all the time. You’d think it was annoying, but it’s actually kinda cute, and deep down I hate them for it.

It is funny though, for the longest time the race was to create a device that could do it all, and now I have three of them, all in different sizes. I’ve astonished myself with my Macintosh gluttony (I even got appleTV when purchasing the ipad, but that story is for another post). However, productivity is at an all time high and I was able to fit in a little facebook stalking while I read the first 10 pages of a new book on the shitter. Athough I’m still rolling with the MacBook, it’s my security blanket. At any given moment I can be found with my technology spread eagle: small, medium, large. I bet I could ground a pretty good-sized aircraft with this set up… iland.

I’m going to leave you with this last thought… I actually saw a co-worker use this gesture the other day, and it made me think about our own evolution beyond words. To write a letter, you mime holding a pen. To send an email, you use both hands and pretend to type. To look up something, you now, thanks to itouch technology, mimic swiping your finger. But to roll down the window of a car you still do the same thing they’ve been doing since they were playing grab ass in the 70s. And the teenagers are still listening to loud music, dressing like fools, and giving their parents lame excuses. No matter how progressive, we will always find our parents embarrassing. There is no app for that.

Relationship Status: It’s Complicated

March 23, 2011 § 1 Comment

You thought I was joking, but I went in to see the ginger-haired bartender with the trifecta of the charming man on St. Paddy’s day. And even though there were shamrocked floosies all abound, he remembered me. I found out the exact days he worked just in case future stalking was necessary, but he said he would call. And he did. Well, he texted. He did only wait a day and a half, so I’ll give him credit for not bombing me with an instant text or making me stew in my insecurity. We tried to coordinate a first date-ish thing, but for one reason or another our schedules didn’t match up.

My neighbor says when a bartender “works a double” it’s an excuse. I told him that Irish eyes don’t tell lies and gave the ginger the benefit of the doubt. Then I did some facebook stalking. He doesn’t have one of those Tom Dick or Harry names so it was easy to find him. To my shock: in a relationship. What the what?! People have their reasons… okay, okay, I’m making excuses because he’s just that cute. I’m going to not let it get in my way. I wouldn’t be pursued if he didn’t want to pursue, so I’ll let him “work a double” and break up with the poor girl.

There has to be some etiquette on these things. We all saw Social Network, we all agree Zukerberg is brilliant. To his complement, we are now all wearing signs that say: gay, straight, or taken. However, relationships are some of the messiest things I’ve ever been a part of, something that ol’ Mark didn’t have experience in when he established the relationship status. One minute it’s love forever and ever, the next it’s rocky, then it’s over, after that it will never happen again, and three months later you’re doing a drive by at 2am on a Tuesday. Making it official on facebook has now become a “big step” in a relationship. It comes after “I love you” but before you move in together. Right about the time you say, “Should I give you a key?” is same time you’re updating your settings. We’ve all seen that little heart in the news feed, everyone comments with gawks and awes. You’re getting really serious about this dude. Months later it’s a broken heart, more comments, snickers, I told you so’s. If you really didn’t think this relationship was going to last, you wouldn’t have changed the status to begin with.

I’ve gotten into an argument with a bf over why I didn’t announce to my social network we were seeing each other. I just don’t think I need to invite my digital circle into my personal life. I lost the battle and soon enough, it was the mouse click of doom. The people that really know me will defiantly know when I’m taken. I won’t be able to stop talking about him. They will want to shove dirty socks in my mouth just so they don’t have to hear about the status of my relationship. And when it is over, they will be the ones who will send me inspirational emails or a wall post of love, a love post.

When it’s really a break up, how long to you wait to change it to single? Out of respect for the other person, do you divide how long you were dating by your birthday and subtract seven then add two days? You aren’t actually speaking but rather tediously waiting to wake up one morning and log in to see that your ex has sufficiently moved on.

I rather not declare anything at all. For one, if you’re aloof there is better gossip for everyone. For another, should we really be defining something so transient (marriage aside)? Now it’s definitive on the internet, but does that really mean anything? The ginger haired bartender could be a wonderful, respectful gentleman who’s just waiting it out to give his former lady friend time to find closure on her own. I respect that. If she’s taking too long, well, maybe that’s the reason why it ended.

Yesterday I was looking him up, not to check his relationship status (partly a lie), but to see his wonderful smile (complete truth). He is now neither single, nor in a relationship, and it wasn’t complicated either. He was just another person out there walking about on the digital street. I guess I’m just going to have to go out with him to find out the full story. Gasp! I’m going to have to get to know him, the old fashioned way. How 2002 of me.

Facebook Faux Pas

January 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

You wouldn’t walk through a supermarket shouting obscenities, you wouldn’t get black-out drunk and piss yourself in front of your mother, you wouldn’t share details of the color and consistency of your shits with a complete stranger, so why are you doing it on Facebook? If you don’t use your privacy settings, if you don’t censor yourself at all, every pimple, every mood swing, every sexual encounter is broadcast to even the most casual acquaintances and archived FOREVER via the World Wide Web.

I don’t think I’m alone here when I say we need to take responsibility for our Internet actions. I blame the user, not the digital book of face. Enough of the inappropriate social blunders flying around on status updates and post comments clogging my news feed like the ten page produce mailer from the grocery store I’ve never set foot in. I’ve got a few examples of outrageous behavior publicized on the Internet by Facebook. If you are as appalled as I am, help stop it by practicing good netiquette. There is a delete button for a reason. No worries, we all make mistakes and experience occasional poor judgment.

Let’s start with the TMI faux pas. You are giving me too much information if you are an expectant mother whose dilation progress is announced in my news feed. I regret logging on that day your water broke. And truth be told, do I really need to see that graphic picture of you and your newborn? You just gave BIRTH moments ago. I know, I know, the miracle of life. By all means, share it. I just think some things should remain personal. If you wanted your mother/aunt/cousin/baby daddy to see it, why not attach the pic in an email or send it as a personal message? Facebook gives the option. Maybe if I had squeezed out one of those miniature human things, I’d feel differently about this, but for now… keep it in your own circle.

You are giving me too much information if you are self-publishing gloomy prose about your most recent break up. This is not a poetry jam this is a social network. It’s sad and pathetic and after 6 weeks, I no longer feel bad for you. In general, broadcasting your misery is not attractive, and did you ever think that saying nothing at all says a whole lot more than updating your digital friends on your FEELINGS every twenty minutes? Would you say the same thing into a bullhorn if you and your ex were at the same party? Facebook is a party, and your wall is a bullhorn. What exactly are you shouting about?

You are giving me too much information if you are posting pictures of your every meal. I don’t need a review on every piece of nourishment passing your lips, it only makes me think about how your next bathroom break is going to go. Yeah, I’m gross, but amateur photographs of food taken on a cell phone make any edible item look like shit.

Next, I want to address something in a serious manner: Sympathies. Dying is a part of living and although we have advanced so far technically, it’s still apart of our modern life. I know that the community of Facebook just wants to cheer up a member who’s down, but however you heard about it, if they aren’t posting about their loss on their own wall, should you really be the one to do it? While some people wish to publicly express their hardships, others wish to be consoled privately. Some members of Facebook may have crossed this line in regards to the sympathy wall post. Makes me feel icky. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to express your sympathies no matter your relation is to the bereaved, but again, Facebook has made the option available for you to privately send a message. Also, you might be surprised to find out that Facebook now memorializes deceased members preserving their page on the Internet. What might you be leaving behind? Maybe you have some deleting to do?

This brings me to my next point of interest, birthday wishes. The Facebook wall post really just become another notch in the lazy American’s bedpost, right along with drive thru windows and the acronym ‘lol’. Pretty soon we’ll be doing away with emails, phone calls and greeting cards as well. A while back I was surfing the “book” and I came across a friend’s page. Someone had wished her husband a happy birthday on her wall because they were unable to post to his wall. Again, it’s called privacy settings, people. And if you can’t post on his wall, he probably doesn’t want the clutter of your birthday wish. Yet again, you could send a private message, you have the power. I resolve to no longer wish a happy birthday on Facebook walls. I vow to text, because if we are really friends, I’d have your phone number. And if you’re special, I’ll give you an actual phone call, that is if we are still calling them phones.

When using Facebook we MUST begin to ask ourselves: how would this person like to receive this message? Talk about impersonal; is there some sort of high to get from seeing your name on another’s wall? Do you need the proof that you were there first? Or have we become so lazy and thoughtless that we cannot exercise the option to send a private message to our loved ones? That is not what friendship is, people.

With little to no rules on Facebook, I really think there should be at least some sort of grammar police. Some citizens diligently make corrections, but no matter how polite, they are not well received. Still I’m astonished, some users basically type in all acronyms. High school students are in essence Facebooking in another language. Then there are some people who straight up violate grammatical rules and just don’t care. You know who you are. And then there are some people who just make a few honest mistakes, typos, or they were never very good at spelling (that’s me). I’m okay with a little correction here and there. I’ll take your correction and repost, which is how you avoid making the same mistake again. It’s sad to see the English language bashed with such regularity. Also, please, can we scale back on the profanity, there are kids on here. Is nothing sacred? I’m Facebook friends with my eight year old niece who likes to look at the pictures I take of California sunsets, and in the same album I have people dropping five F-bombs in one comment. What’s wrong with you?

I’ll say it again: I don’t blame Facebook, I blame the user. Whatever happened to thinking before you speak? Or in this case: type. We were better off when we didn’t have websites asking us what we were thinking about constantly. Don’t even get me started on Twitter, that’s just a breeding ground for inappropriate posts and bad grammar. Facebook could become a cesspool like Twitter or Myspace, or we could all take on the social responsibility of cleaning the place up. You don’t need to share everything on the Internet, it’s not like it’s going to get offended, it’s not going to be mad at you an not invite you to it’s birthday party. Let’s be real.

Here are some additional thoughts on the subject:

someone elses and the news

and my own two cents.

Earbuds: Status Update of the Jetways

December 27, 2010 § Leave a comment

I’ve lived in New York City, Boston and Los Angeles, so I’d say I’m pretty well versed in public travel. I think I’ll even count Michigan State’s Cata-Bus too. If anyone has seen a co-ed puking on the way to their 8am class they know it’s just as bad, if not worse than the sex offender jerking off under the NY Times Sunday Edition on the 1/9 uptown train.

While I was living in Manhattan I was visited by a hometown redneck who was afraid to hold on to the hand rail or sit on the seats of a subway. He mentioned it was as disgusting as licking a sneeze guard in the produce section of the local grocer. Well, I guess if you put it that way, but you’ll get over that really quickly when you have to get from point A to point B during rush hour in 90 degree heat with 100% humidity or the opposite extreme, 2ft snow drifts and below zero wind chills. Hoofing it just isn’t an option at that point. For a buck 75ish I’ll ride with my head in some dude’s armpit to not have to sit in traffic. I say this after residing in Los Angeles for the past four years.

A lot of people exaggerate about a lot of things in tinsel town, but I promise you, everything they say about the traffic is true. There is nothing more mind numbing then sitting in one of six lanes in the 405 rush hour parking lot. If I didn’t have the three radio stations programmed to the three buttons that actually work in my car, I would have jumped off the mountain to certain death two years ago. Music is essential to tolerate the insanity of bumper-to-bumper, four mile and hour creep one must endure from the valley to the beach. I live by the beach because I want to already be there on the weekend, I don’t want make the hour and a half journey on my day off to pay 30 dollars in parking. My choice, not yours and I’ll complain about the weekday commute if I want to.

Anyway, if you think about it music is imperative for most solo travel regardless of the vehicle. There is a lot of stress that can build up while your waiting for your turn to get there. The earbud is a fantastic invention almost as amazing as the bobby pin. Discrete and miniature, the earbud will not mess your hair, fits in your purse or pocket, and provides hours of entertainment for your relaxation when navigating through rough terrain. Like at the gym, when some shmooley wants to chitchat and is not paying attention to the epic eye  roll you just gave him as a context clue. Or when riding the subway when you just don’t have time to stop and give directions to a non-English speaking tourist. If you keep your focus ten yards ahead with the ‘buds in you’re untouchable. I recently discovered  the gravity of my dependence on these wonderful audible nuggets when I FORGOT my ipod at home on a cross-country flight over the holidays. That’s 4½+ hours alone with my inner monologue. Now I know why solitary confinement is such a ruthless punishment. Fortunately for me, I find myself pretty hilarious.

When you travel by airplane you never know who you’ll fall asleep next to, much like welcome week your freshmen year of college. You run into a lot of unseasoned communal travelers who want to discuss whatever it is they find so amazing about traveling. A lot of talk about tiny shampoos and walking through security barefoot. The earbuds are the status updates of the jetways: Not Up For Conversation with Perfect Stranger. It’s like when you place your napkin over your drink at the bar while you walk away to use the restroom or smoke a cig. It’s not really stopping the roofie from entering your drink, but at least the bartender knows you’ll return to pay your tab. And with the earbuds out, you are signifying you are open to “cheerful dialogue.” Stormin’ has a great story about a cat lady she had some “cheerful dialogue” with, but I’ll commission her to write that one for you guys later.

To me I thought this was the only real significance the earbuds have in air travel, but after being deprived of this security blanket, I’ve learned it eases the mental pain in flying. I was extremely irritated at every detail of the experience; it definitely ruined my mellow. Once I realized I was without ‘buds, I formulated a plan. I had carried on a novel along with paper and pen, and with any luck I’d have an inflight movie. As fate would have it, my luck ran out after I breezed though security in ten minutes during peak holiday travel times. I was then doomed to a middle seat with no modern entertainment. At least before all this technology you were able to smoke on flights and were rewarded a tv dinner.

I nestled in next to valley girl who didn’t look a day over eighteen with a diamond the size of Barbra Streisand’s nose. And just like Barb’s snoz, it seemed to follow me with its eye. She rummaged through her Loui Vuitton bag and I tried to count the rocks on her wedding band, there were at least six. Prices must be outrageous if evem daddy’s little girl can’t get in first class. She started waving her iphone about complaining aloud to no one in particular about not having service. I didn’t even want to dare ask if she was speaking to me lest I get those condescending princess eyes. I spared myself and just let her wonder aloud like a homeless person. Once she got her US Weekly she quieted down about her lack of cellular reception. Got to love trashy entertainment magazines, pacifiers for women. Because, don’t get me wrong, I love a who-looks-like-shit-in-a-bikini story or a shoplifting scandal just like the next girl.

And touching my other shoulder, reading the exact same magazine, was a seemingly mild mannered woman who overate her emotions not much older than myself, not wearing any sort of rings. As we started down the runway and she revealed a giant bag of prescriptions. Health problems perhaps? My only hope was that whatever pill she took would keep her from barfing on me. I have a childhood fear of puke ever since kindergarten when a little girl upchucked inches away from Betty and me while we were building a Lego tower.

So there we were all in a row: small, medium, and large. Both of them were buried in their celeb sex scandals and publicized philanthropy as I brought out my novel. I could almost hear the collective gasp, “a chapter book!” Right before take off the trophy wife passed out and started snoring and my other companion started viciously tapping her foot and clutching her perfectly manicured nails on the armrest. Wow, fantastic reading atmosphere for me. And when I say perfectly manicured nails, I mean I was envious. I would rather take my chances in a collision then ruin such a good set by white knuckling a handle. Afraid of flying much?

The panic subsided as we reached our cruising altitude and Shakes-a-lot zonked out as well. I was the only one who partook in the complementary refreshments, which I found to be a bit skimpier than usual. I have a routine for this particular flight to avoid being over charged. I eat a large meal at home before I leave for the airport then I choose to drink bloody mary mix as my libation which is given to me in a large can with little interruption of my music. Pretty sure the stewardess would rather you keep your earbuds in so you say as little to her as possible. That’s how they stay so sunny in a miserable job. The bloody and two packets of peanuts gets me to my destination. However, this time I received about 6oz of my beverage in a plastic cup and about four mini pretzels. WTF? The guy behind me got a full can of cranberry juice, I looked back to check. He also did get hosed for 7 bucks in exchange for the pleasure of four baby carrots and a thimble of ranch dressing. None the less, beverage envy.

It wasn’t long before Sleeping Beauty awoke and started complaining aloud to herself again. As I felt sorry for the person who had to actually listen to her everyday, Nervous Nelly flew awake when we hit turbulence during our final descent. Just observing her terror almost convinced me the plane was going down. All I could think about was how I would have normally been listening to Zeppelin streaming through my ‘buds getting pumped up to land, to effortlessly walk through the terminal like a triumphant slow motion scene of an action movie. In my daydream I’m always a sexy super spy with ninja skills and flawless hair bouncing in my wake.

Damn my over active imagination and that feeling you get leaving the house knowing you’ve forgotten something. Leaving the ipod behind is certainly a Gen-Y issue, must we always be entertained by some super gadget? In a different generation, I could have been a crossword puzzler, a chatty cathy, or a sudoku solver instead of a technology junkie going through withdrawal from earbuds. I started to get the shakes just thinking about it. Oh well, I’m sure this feeling won’t last: I have a short attention span, I’m an internet baby.

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