The Glitch That Can’t Be Scratched


Everyday elegance

I had to admire the elegance of the electric pole that I found myself starting at from the platform of the train station where I was waiting to go home. Somehow, right in the middle of everything, utterly unremarked by everyone, was a functional sculpture of clean lines and shapes. I mean, it’s an electric pole, but it’s also rather sculptural. Is it art? Do we fail to recognize this kind of beauty because it is functional? 

I’ve been in a somewhat philosophical mind space lately. Partly, I suspect, this is due to the fact that my phone has just passed the end of its two year lease/contract/warranty and has begun malfunctioning in the most spectacularly annoying way. The screen has begun blacking out on me. ( Screen just went black. Took three tries to turn it on again) Sometimes it’s a slow, grainy fade into black, sometimes it’s an abrupt cut out. Sometimes it will revive with a click of the power button, other times it will refuse to be cooperative and will show only the briefest of tantalizing flashes of whatever it is I’m trying to work on. This isn’t a unique problem: after a brief search online ( screen just went black again) I found an entire forum thread dedicated to other people who had encountered the same problem (solution: get a new phone). Some people thought it was a hardware problem. Some people thought (screen just went black again) it was a software problem. Some people sent their phones in to the manufacturer for repair (sometimes more than once) only to have the problem persist. And it always seemed to be happening to phones that were just weeks past the end of their warranties. I mean, you would think that a device that costs nearly eight hundred dollars would last longer than two years, you know, like a good investment? But no. If they made smartphones that lasted then how would they force you to buy (screen just went black again) a new one? Right? I’m so angry about it I could scream. I hate being held hostage by never ending payment plans. “Oh, you’re finally going to lower your monthly bill? Here’s a technical glitch that no amount of troubleshooting will ever solve. Guess you’ll have to get a new phone. For another eight hundred dollars. Over twenty four months.” 

The part that makes me the most angry is that I’ll have to eventually give in and do it. For right now I can get by (screen just went black again) by just (screen just went black again) putting the phone down when it starts anything up: I don’t really need to be playing so much Candy Crush or surfing so much Facebook. But the glitch is just inconsistent enough that it could really get me into trouble if it happened when I actually, urgently needed my phone. Like when I get a phone call. Or when I’m trying to reassure the Curmudgeonly Lion that I made it safely to work and I’m not dead in a ditch somewhere. As much as I would LOVE to believe that I could just do without a fancy smartphone ( entitled millennial, you don’t need a new eight hundred dollar phone), no one actually functions anymore without one. Go on, tell me the last time you used a pay phone. I goddamn dare you.

So as I slowly sink towards capitulation in an increasing state of rage induced apoplexy I calm myself by staring out into space, admiring the elegance of electrical poles and train platforms and wishing for simpler times.

And the screen just went black again. Guess that’s my cue to wrap this up.

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~ by Gwydhar Gebien on April 21, 2017.

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