#FOWC — I Am the Artifact

93605D3B-DCC9-472A-A495-6500A447DCEBWhen I think back to when I was a young man and what was, at the time, the latest technologies, it seems that most of them are now artifacts of a simpler age.

Whizbang products like transistor radios, cassette decks, electric typewriters, fax machines, telephone answering machines, rotary and push button telephones, cathode ray tubes, floppy disks, dial-up modems, dot matrix printers, FotoMats, pagers/beepers, and Atari video game players seem so quaint now.

Oh wait. Maybe it’s me. Maybe I am the real artifact.

Written for Fandango’s One-Word Challenge, “artifact.” Top image credit: “The Realm of Obsolete Technology” By Adam Baron.

On Not Being Present

Be Aware, Listening and Engaged words on papers pinned to a bullBeing present means having your focus, your attention, and your thoughts and feelings all fixed on the task at hand or the person/people you’re with. Being present requires you to pay attention, to be actively listening to those with whom you are having a dialogue, and to be fully engaged with whatever you’re doing.

Yeah, so what, you ask? Well, I’ve noticed lately that I often am not present. Yes, I’m physically present, but I’m not always aware, listening, or engaged in what I am supposed to be doing.

Like right now while my wife is preparing tonight’s dinner and asked me to keep her company. But I’m not really present, not really paying attention to what she’s saying. What am I doing? I’m writing this post and periodically nodding my head and throwing in an occasional “uh huh” for good measure.

Fortunately, my wife is as bad as I am. She’s always on Twitter in order to get the most up-to-date tweets from others who are also constantly on Twitter. I typically have to say something to her two or three times before she’ll actually look up from her smartphone.

When watching TV, be it a drama, a comedy, or the news, I find myself focusing more on what’s on my iPhone’s screen — my news feed, text messages, the WordPress Reader, and even composing new posts — than on what is playing on the TV.

When my family and I are out to dinner, all four of us are looking at our smartphones more than we are interacting with one another. I do turn off my phone when I go to a movie, but it’s the last thing I look at before the movie starts and I turn it on as soon as the movie’s over to see if I missed anything.

I even look at my iPhone while walking the dog! And yes, while sitting on the toilet doing my bizness.

So I really need to start being more present than I’ve been recently. I need to fight this addiction before it takes over completely.

Just as soon as I check the latest baseball scores on my sports app.

The Bee Keeper

DA3B1799-6DA9-4BF3-B9CC-C2E0F2AE108EThere once was a carpenter who was constructing a new hive for his honey bees. He was always fascinated by honey bees. They live such an orderly and well-functioning life. They are social insects that live together in large, well-organized family groups.

Honey bee colonies house worker bees, drones, and the queen. Each member of the colony has a definitive task to perform. And survival and reproduction take the combined efforts of the entire colony. Individual bees cannot survive without the support of the colony. It was a marvel of practicality and efficiency.

Unlike the chaotic society in which he and his fellow human beings lived, he thought, which is the model of a dystopian society.

Written for today’s Three Things Challenge, where the things are carpenter, dystopian, and honey bee.

Saturday Mix Opposing Forces — Summer Solstice

2F04793F-CD0F-48C7-A437-C28FE15D867F“Permit me to introduce you to our host,” my coworker, Clyde, said. “Andrew, I’d like you to meet Mr. Archibald Benedict. Archie hosts this party every year around this time to celebrate the arrival of the summer solstice.”

I put out my right hand to shake hands with Mr. Benedict, but he did not offer me his hand in return. “Do you know what the summer solstice is, boy?” Mr. Benedict said to me, which caught me a little off guard because he isn’t that much older than me.

“Yes, I do,” I said. “The summer solstice occurs when the sun reaches its highest position in the sky and it is the day with the longest period of daylight. Some suggest that it marks the kickoff of the summer season, but I think most people think of Memorial Day as the real start of summer.”

Mr. Benedict looked at me for a moment and then abruptly turned around and walked away. I gave Clyde a questioning look. “Did I say something wrong?” I asked.

“No,” Clyde said, “but you’re a first time visitor and he can be a little standoffish to people he doesn’t know well.”

“I don’t know,” I said. “It seems like there’s something more to it than that, Clyde.”

“Well,” Clyde said, “there’s a rumor that his parents met at a summer solstice party at Stonehenge and that he was conceived that night. But his mother died giving birth to him nine months later.”

“That’s interesting but it still doesn’t explain his behavior towards me earlier tonight,” I said. “What am I missing?”

“Again, it’s just rumor,” Clyde responded. “You see, Archie had always wanted to go to Stonehenge for the summer solstice as a way to try to make a cosmic connection with the mother he never knew. But his father forbid him from ever going there because he blamed Archie for his mother’s death.”

“That’s some heavy shit to lay on a kid,” I said.

“And, of course, Archie never wants to celebrate his actual birthday because of how guilty he feels about her dying while giving birth to him. So he always throws these parties at his home to celebrate the anniversary of his conception. Unfortunately, he’s never in a particularly jovial mood at these events. So don’t take it personally, okay?”

Written for this week’s Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Saturday Mix, where we are supposed to two pairs of opposing words in our posts. The words are (1) “permit” and “forbid,” and (2) “visitor” and “host.”

SoCS — Bugging Out

A03806E0-CA53-4BA7-A687-FF378589D610Earlier this week, my throat started to feel scratchy. My nose started running. My eyes began watering, my ears were ringing. I was sneezing and coughing. I had somehow been exposed to a bug. When my wife heard me sneezing, she started to bug me, telling me to stay away from her so that she wouldn’t catch the bug from me.

So I went to my home office to get some work done on my laptop only to find out that my software had a bug. How did that damn bug get into my computer and infest my program? If I could find that damn bug I was going to crush it like a, well, like a bug.

I wasn’t going to let that software bug get the best of me. I updated my antivirus software on my hard drive. And just to be sure, I wiped down my keyboard and mouse with an antibiotic wet-wipe.

While my antivirus software was debugging my laptop, I got up and went to the kitchen, where I heard a strange, high-pitched sound coming from my microwave. Was there a bug in my microwave? Was my microwave oven bugging me? No way I was going to let that happen.

So I unplugged the microwave oven and pulled it off the shelf. And when I did, I encountered a huge cockroach staring up at me. My house is virtually spotless. What was a goddam cockroach doing in my kitchen.

I quickly caught the bug and destroyed it. It was in my natural domain, not its own. I wasn’t going to gently catch that bug and humanely let it out into my backyard. No sir, I wasn’t going to be humane to a bug. It’s a bug, not a human.

There was obviously a lot bugging me this past week and I want to thank Linda G. Hill for giving us the word “bug” for this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt.

And with that, I’m going to bug off for now.