It takes manners to prevent modern technology from making life misery
By Uwe Siemon-Netto
(From the December 2009 issue of The Atlantic Times)
How a tiny gadget brought our correspondent to his knees, and how a kindly human voice raised him back to his feet. Tales of rescue from precipitate hell in a weird new world.
Never in my 73 years have I knelt for so long. The object of my genuflection was in this particular case not God. I was on my knees in a dark corner behind the computer desk in my new apartment in Irvine, California, swearing like an infidel at inconsiderate corporate louts responsible for the miniscule numbers on the labels of my Cable TV modem and my router. The two gadgets would not communicate.
I called technical support with my right hand on a cell phone, and was made to perform a penitential act. My interlocutor was a young woman. She spoke with a little girl’s voice, a fashionable affectation. It’s bad enough when they do this to you face-to-face. But squeaking at me wirelessly is physical abuse. You can only guess what people like that are trying to say.
The reason why he did not carry our bags to our seats was this: In Germany, the trains and the stations, though still state-owned, belong to separate corporations nowadays; working for the station, Giovanni was not permitted to board the ICE because it was the property of a “different” outfit. And thus it came to pass that 21st-century corporate mindlessness precluded humans from doing things human.