On my lawn, and your need to get off it

Children-smartphone-tablet-screens

Last week– seven to ten days ago, if I’m being precise– a sweet elderly lady and what I can only assume was her grandson came into the store.  Grandma spent some time looking around and purchased a single barstool from me.  She was unusually happy about it, proclaiming it “perfect” for her needs.  Her grandson, who was perhaps seventeen, did not say a single word during the entire time I was observing the two of them.  In fact, he did not look up from his gaming device– a Game Boy Advance SP, I’m pretty sure, despite that system’s advanced age– a single time.  He, in fact, shuffled a few feet behind her the entire time she was in the store, neither speaking, looking around, or interacting with anything.  It was as if she had some sort of robot following her and not a human being.  She never spoke to him either.  He wouldn’t have heard her, I assume, as he also had big, beefy headphones on, which were attached to the system.

She came back yesterday to pick up her barstool, and this time had both her grandson and (again, I’m assuming) her daughter with her.  Her grandson this time stared at his phone the entire time he was in the store, interacting with neither his mom nor his grandmother, and again he had his headphones on.

I went back and got her barstool out of the warehouse and brought it to the front of the store.  “Want me to carry that out for you?” I asked, assuming that she would say no and that the grandson– or, at the very least, the daughter– would carry the stool rather than the elderly lady.  She said she didn’t need me to and I had her sign her paperwork and then watched in no small amount of shock as the old lady picked up the barstool and left the store, her worthless progeny trailing along behind her.  One of my warehouse guys was standing next to me at the time.

“I asked her if she wanted to carry it,” I said.  “You heard me say that, right?  I didn’t imagine it?”

“Yeah,” he said.  “I kinda wanna smack that kid.”

“Maybe he’s autistic,” I said, and then wondered what the hell is going on that this kid being severely autistic– because I know plenty of kids with autism for whom “carry shit for your grandma” is still an ingrained behavior, so it’s got to be way down on the spectrum– is the best of the available outcomes.

A few minutes later, I had reason to get something from my car.  And then helped the old lady put the barstool into the trunk of her car, as her daughter and grandson sat in the vehicle and waited for her to be done.


I don’t really have strong feelings about screen time, but I feel like I should have strong feelings about screen time, if that makes any sense.  After dinner tonight I asked my wife if she had any recollection of what she might have been doing just after dinner when she was six.  Her father would likely be watching TV, she decided, and she’d either be watching with him or playing, and her mom would be watching the dishes.  So let’s call that one and a half people staring at a device.  When I asked the question, she and I were still sitting at the dining table fiddling with our phones, and the boy was in the living room watching some godawful YouTube video where someone opens packages of something.  If I hadn’t been staring at my phone, I’d likely have either had a book in my hand or the laptop I’m typing on right now in front of me.  Or, since I’ve decided that the ridiculously named Horizon Zero Dawn isn’t violent enough to hide it from my son, maybe playing that.

We have all sorts of evenings where each of us is staring at his or her own device– well, the one the boy uses is mine, but you get the idea– or where we’re all watching the TV.  That’s not what bugs me.  What bugs me is that I really can’t think of what the hell else we might be doing.

See effete tree dress red at Ra dress d

So I pulled my phone out of my pocket and it had opened the app and written that post title on its own. Thought I’d share.

In which graaaah raaaah cellphone companies

funny-pictures-auto-twitter-iphone-477285Can I, like, write a post where we all pretend that I spent a thousand words going “graaah raaaah cellphone companies” without actually going to the effort of spending a thousand words going “graaah raaaah cellphone companies”?  Because we finally got around to going over to Sprint to get me moved off of my father’s plan and onto my own, and that is only the first of possibly as many as three trips to the Sprint store that I’m going to have to make over the next week or so, all to discover that their current horribly-named, you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me “framily” plan does actually look like it’s going to be cheaper for everyone involved if we recombine our accounts now that I’m out on my own again.  Which makes my head hurt in strange and terrible ways and christ this is already 150 words and I haven’t actually done the complaining yet.

Long story short: dealing with cellphone companies sucks; just… like, take my money and go away, but don’t take enough that I notice, and if I feel like I need a degree in calculus to figure out how much my bill is going to be then maybe your billing procedure might be too complicated.

(Don’t explain how the Frenemy plan works, or whatever the fuck it’s called.  I get it.  What is happening right now is called venting, and it is not always rational.)

Sprint’s biggest sin?  (I thought I was done.  Guess not.) They had Macklemore playing in their store, and now I’m at home listening to Macklemore while I’m writing this, and I’m angry that they’re making me listen to Macklemore.  I remember threatening to review The Heist right after the Grammys happened, and never actually getting around to it.  Here’s the review: parts of The Heist are really good, or at least they would be if I didn’t have the overwhelming feeling all the time that Macklemore was actually an enormous fratboy douchebag (probably true) and that the entire goddamn album was secretly an enormous piss-take, which is possibly not true.   If you feel the need to mention your SAT score in your rap album and your rap album is not about what a nerd you are you may want to rewrite a bit.  Watsky could get away with that, maybe; Macklemore can’t.

That said, “Can’t Hold Us” is a banger, and the line that’s what you get when Wu-Tang raised you keeps making me think the guy has some idea of what hiphop is actually about. Then the rest of the album does its best to convince me that “Can’t Hold Us” is a fluke.

Also, I don’t know what Ryan Lewis’ contribution to the album actually was, but I do know he was the guy who literally yanked Queen Latifah out of the way so Madonna could hobble out onto stage at the Grammys, so I hate his face and want to punch it.  The end.

Wait, no: the girl who did all of the computering for us while we were in the store was not only really cute but she had a Batman logo painted on one of her fingernails and a nicely subtle Batman leather bracelet too and I thought about trying to marry her but my dad and my wife were there and at least one of them would probably have been upset with that.

The end.