We Don't Serve Droids in Here
By Wil Forbis
A few years ago, I was having a drink with a friend in a delightful bar called "The Breakroom", located in Seattle's Capitol Hill district. While we sat there, sipping our rum and cokes, my compatriot, Brad, woefully looked over at an individual sitting a few barstools down from us. He was a tall man and was being completely unsociable by typing away at a laptop computer while sipping a beer. Aghast at the man's obvious preference to machine over human interaction, Brad looked at me and said, "You know, Wil. If you ever see me doing that, kill me!"
So I pulled out my newly purchased Glock nine millimeter and fired two shots into Brad's abdomen, knocking him off his barstool to the floor below. "What are you doing?" he gasped out with his dying breath, "I said you should kill me IF you caught me using a laptop at a bar!"
"Oops" I replied, with genuine remorse. "I guess I didn't hear the second part."
I've always regretted killing Brad, if only for the fact that I'm no longer welcome at The Breakroom. And for a long time I agreed with his assertion that people who chose to embrace the technological age too forcefully showed a lack of character. I supported the hypothesis that there was a place for computers, and that the sweaty caverns of the neighborhood bar was not one such place.
But now… I'm starting to wonder…
I mean, there's a grander debate here, not just about whether one should use computers in bars and places reserved for personal interaction, but about whether or not the human race's socialization is having less to do with people and more to do with machines. When I cast a critical eye on myself, it would seem like carbon based life forms are fighting a losing battle for my time. After all, most of my rowdy jesting with friends is transported through e-mail or discussion groups as opposed to actual conversation. Television and streaming broadband content provide entertainment where I once would go see live musicians or thespians. My sexual satisfaction is achieved through the use of a Casio X9-43 Pocket Vagina I found being sold second hand on E-Bay, thereby dismissing the need for my often inept flirting with the female of our species. Technology has taken over my life!
Of course, neo-luddites and other naysayers will say that human interaction is infinitely preferable to conversatin' with some newfangled machine, but like lots of people, I find the efficiency of machine delivered communication quite welcoming. Where this can be most clearly seen is in our love affair with the telephone answering machine. How often have you called someone at a time when you knew they wouldn't be home? How many times have you been genuinely disappointed that they were indeed home? Are we such antisocial brutes that we have no desire to engage in personal communication with other souls lost in this vast, meaningless universe? I don't think so. I think what we wish to avoid is pointless personal communication, otherwise known as "small talk."
I have to be honest here: I loathe small talk. And more so, I fear it. Partly because I feel it generally is a grand waste of time and partly because I'm terrible at it. That's why I see the telephone answering machine is such a boon to my existence. If I call you to tell you that I'd like you to return my Casio X9-43 Pocket Vagina I want to talk about you returning my Casio X9-43 Pocket Vagina. I don't want to talk about the health of your cat, or the weather, or how the local sports team is doing. Indeed every second wasted on such conversations takes away precious time from my limited stay here on earth. Time that could be spent hangliding through Death Valley, or reveling in the great works of art at the Lourve, or making love to a beautiful woman (or at least my Casio X9-43 Pocket Vagina). We've all heard the statistics about how much time we spend during our lifespan going to the bathroom or sitting in traffic or listening to Katie Couric's snidely elitist drivel, but does anyone know how much time we spend engaged in small talk? Do ya? Huh? (If you do know, e-mail me, because I don't have any idea.)
And ultimately, that's where I see the merits of the technological world. It frees us from the filler material that peppers most inane human conversation. It breaks the shackles of droning neighbors and relatives who wish to gab on and on about the mating habits of the Australian fruit fly, or why automobiles should be powered by ear wax. Technology is our Christ, our Mohammed, OUR FREEDOM!
And to those of you who still preach the favor of real, genuine human interaction, I say this: You can have my Casio X9-43 Pocket Vagina when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers. (Or wherever it happens to be located.)
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Wil Forbis is a well known international playboy who lives a fast paced life attending chic parties, performing feats of derring-do and making love to the world's most beautiful women. Together with his partner, Scrotum-Boy, he is making the world safe for democracy. Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit Wil's web log, The Wil Forbis Blog, and receive complete enlightenment.