This blog occasionally publishes non-political stuff on the weekends.
The other day, my ladyfriend received a text message from a former roommate: "It's Christmas. I've been thinking a lot about you, and hunting"
Needless to say, this text upset my ladyfriend a great deal. "What the hell did she mean by that?" she kept asking me.
"Stop it," I said. "Let's do this old school. Call her voice. Direct confrontation."
This suggestion seemed bizarre. Nowadays, people just don't talk
on the phone: It's too intimate. In the age of the ubiquitous text message, people don't actually get vocal until after they've slept together a few times, and maybe not even then. If you were born after 1985, you probably would have no problem texting a message like "I'm pregnant and I think the child is yours."
Nevertheless, I knew that the quickest way to resolve the problem was to do things the old-fashioned way. So I called up the former roommate.
She informed me that the text was accidentally sent before completion. She meant to say "...and hunting for Christmas lights."
(That was a seasonal tradition: We'd all get in the car and drive around southern California looking for the most elaborate Christmas light displays. If you are ever in the area, check out Burbank, Toluca Lake and North Hollywood, because many Hollywood technicians live in that area, and they love to put on a show. Try to be there when the Christmas Truck
shows up. Very surreal.)
The misfired message from that former roommate -- who is a very sweet lady, and not someone I expected to turn into the next Zodiac killer -- led me to think about the fragile nature of digital communications.
Here is a more disturbing example: Lately I've been working on a project that requires me to draw pictures of a young girl growing up in the 19th century. (This girl
.) Problem: I don't have anyone to model for me -- and even if I did, I'd be terrified to ask. So I've been looking up reference photos on Google Images.
Search terms have included such phrases as "Young girl face profile" "Two young girls sleeping" "Young girl in old fashioned nightgown" "Child looking up" "Toddler reaching out" and so forth.
Naturally, my thoughts have turned to a certain cluster of buildings in Fort Meade, less than twenty miles away. The people within these buildings make sure that we Never Search Anonymously.
Do you think that my searches have raised any alarm bells? Is there any way to explain myself to the unseen personages who might be peering over my shoulder?
Perhaps every third search could include some background information. Example: "I'm looking for reference photos of little girls because I'm illustrating a book about the childhood of a saint. Seriously. That's all. It's really very innocent. There is no need to have a couple of guys in a white van do surveillance on my home."
It's sad that we now live in a country in which everyone accepts the fact that Big Brother judges us during every second of our online existences.
Maybe this is
a political post after all.