The Big Shiny is stealing my soul.
I haven't been reading or writing lately. Instead, I sit with my computer in my lap and play mindless games of no value — like Pop Pies and Scramble. It's like a crack addiction without the sexy Kate Moss thin phase. That's because I can snarf fist fulls of doodles or little snack cakes in one hand and explode pies with the other. No problem. I'm gifted like that.
I'm glad to be home. I no longer have hours to myself where I can waste this sort of time and not have to explain myself. Which is when you know you have a problem: when your son or spousal unit asks, "What are you doing? WHAT is making that …popping noise?" and you don't want to say, "Exploding pies…." again, and still, like the last time you were asked an hour earlier. SO YOU CONSIDER LYING….
Only you can't think of anything that wouldn't be obvious because what else makes computer game noises but a computer game?
"My Work," you say, because your job is computer related, and adding 'My' to it, and capitalizing both, makes it vague and abstract enough to possibly NOT be a lie. Truly my new Work for the moment is to beat my all time score of 10523. A fluke.
"It sounds like a game,"
"Really? And 'Smokejumper' sounds like a serious job?" you snap, hiding your screen, your shame…. a score of 1724. Again. The pies red and green and blue like infected bruises.
"That's not work…You don't even have your work stuff loaded on that computer….are you still playing that stupid FACEBOOK GAME?"
It's true. This computer is my SUPER CHEAP sony Vaio, bought on huge discount from Best Buy last summer. It is HIDEOUS pastel pink and might as well be filled with bubblegum. The processor is that unimpressive. I spilled lemon drop on the keyboard so 1/2 the keys stick. I have to pound and cuss to use most of the right side. But not to explode pies.
My mother never understood my job because she never really got into the whole computer thing. She was interested, but it was beyond her experience. I never wanted to go into the details of global positioning systems and maps and analysis blah blah blah because one question would lead to another and eventually I'd see that nothing was clear and we were both sick of the conversation…so I'd just stop and say I wore a smoky the bear costume and told people not to smoke in the woods. I handed out pencils at the fair. I told her the Smokey suit was anatomically correct and so I had to wear pants to cover his giant smokey bits. I told her it was empowering to be a furry bear with testicles and free pencils to scratch them with. I would show her how I danced as the bear and she would laugh and laugh. "That sounds like a fun job, Judy!"
So, while I really never tried to explain my technical job to her, just the essence, we did come close once when, on one of our road trips, I showed her our route on a Google Earth map. I said,
"My job is to make maps similar to this, only for fires…."
She stared at my computer screen. "Oh, that's nice!" she said. "Do you draw the Starbucks and motels on? Or does the computer KNOW?"
"I….the computer knows. It's like God, only less vengeful."
Later, months later, when I visited CdA, we were sitting in my mother's living room, with my brother and his family, my sister and her husband… we were all sitting around talking about whatever…and my mom asks, out of the blue,
"So, Katy, do you still Google the Earth?"
LIke I was some peeping planet voyeur. As if my fingers do creepy things to our world under the guise of Work.
Which is not untrue.