Electronic Hell

       So I'm trying to copy some music from a CD to my iTunes file. The first part goes ok, but then I try to create a new playlist for the music, and it won't let me drag and drop like I've done in the past. Is this a new version of iTunes? Have I just gotten dumber than I already am? I switch to the podcast section, and again I'm suddenly in a format that I don't want.  The electronic gods are messing with me.

          I check in on Face Book, a guilty pleasure.  I have three years of notifications I am unable to delete.  Why do they make me keep these things?  When I try to revise my security settings, I first need to self-identify my gender.  There are fifty-two choices to choose from. Huh? What happened to male and female?

          There is an important news site on my computer that no longer loads properly.  I go through all the protocols suggested by the help tab on the browser. No dice.  I call up my computer savvy son.  He can't figure it out.  The problem only happens on my computer.  The site loads on my smart phone but the print is so small I will get squint lines.  I try to clear old messages on the cell phone.  Won't work.  These guys must be hooked up with Face Book.

          A program keeps loading repeats on my DVR.  I only want first run versions of this particular show. Ok, it's a stupid machine, but why provide me with programming choices if they are just a mirage?  How many times would I want to watch the same episode of the dog whisperer?

          The onboard computer in my car tells me to check my engine. Something ain't right.  I take it to my mechanic. He runs a diagnostic check, Has to do with the emissions system. I fork over two hundred bucks to have a five dollar replacement part installed.  A week later the check engine light comes back on.  Mechanic clears it.  Comes back on. I put black tape over the glowing engine icon on my dash display.  Problem solved.

          What if there were a time and place where I didn't have to spend so much of my short life in electronic hell? It's fifty years ago: I am a sophomore in college. My music choices are limited.  There are two top forty stations on the transistor radio, or I can play a 45 or LP on my box like portable record player. Easy choices.  I need to call home. I know when mom will be available; there are no answering machines. There is one phone available, on the wall at the end of the hall in our dorm section.  It works if some drunk hasn't beat it up over the weekend. 

          I write letters to a couple of out of state friends, then it's time to get an afternoon paper from the dispenser in front of the dorm.  Most of the news is more than a day old, but Hey!, the world doesn't move that fast anyway.  That evening I go to the dorm's common area to watch Star Trek with some other fans.  The school just installed color sets. Awesome! If I miss this episode, can't see it again for years until the show goes into syndication. The next day, my roommate wants help changing the spark plugs and setting the points in his car. Doesn't take long, plenty of working space. Engine compartments haven't really been updated in years.

          I have this recurrent dream where Marty McFly comes by my college dorm in the DeLorean. He has the time gizmo set for 2017. I say, "Marty, don't do it! It's a terrible trap!"  Marty goes anyway, and I am left standing on the sidewalk, desperately clutching a TV Guide and the Beatles' Rubber Soul album.