Sunday, August 9, 2009

What If It All Just... Stopped?

I've always been a little leery of technology. Net tech, specifically. My reasoning is simple. For every positive steadily progressing connectivity brings, there is a negative.

You're probably saying that there's a positive and negative side to just about everything, and to that I agree. Ice cream is delicious, but not if you're lactose intolerant. Surprise birthday parties are wonderful, but not if you're going through some aging crisis. Puppies are cute, but if you're allergic....

One caveat. Ice cream and birthday parties and puppies aren't necessary to live one's life in the modern age. Connectivity technology, however, is an absolute need.

Which brings us to a question: What if it all just shut down? What if the phones and cables and satellites and electricity and internet just decided to stop working? What if all went black?

I got an admittedly minute glimpse of such an apocalyptic future today.

The location of the end times? The Stop & Shop gas station.

The issue? The credit card swipes and Stop & Shop card scanners were down.

The outcome? The elderly were PISSED!

It was funny, really. After I tried to scan my S&S card twice and got an "invalid card" screen, I just smiled. Walked over to the cashier. Prepaid for my gas and went back to the pump. Pumped my 30 dollars of gas and left.

What happened during that time was enlightening.

The elderly were utterly befuddled. It was as if they'd never lived in a world without "at the pump" credit card swiping and S&S cards before. One angry bitch of a woman yelled at her obviously cuckolded husband, telling him to "swipe the card again" after he'd done it only about a half dozen times.

Why he'd even tried once made zero sense, because there were notes on every pump saying the credit card swipes were down (but not a word about the S&S card scanner). But I bet he did it only because she told him to.

Anyway, that mean-spirited whoo-ah continued badgering her poor bastard of a husband while he continued staring at the pump, dumbfounded.

At the cashier stand, another elderly lady verbally shat her way into my life.

"The pump keeps saying my card is invalid." Her tone implied that she thought I was a Stop & Shop employee.

"They're all saying that." I answered. "The credit card swipes are down, too. I'm just going to prepay with the cashier."

She sucked her teeth. "That's just great," she spat savagely. "Just what kind of place are they running here?"

I wanted to tell her it was a Stop & Shop gas station, not the Four fucking Seasons, you irate slut. I wanted to tell her that these things happen occasionally, so be patient and act civilized before I slap your bridgework out of your wrinkly mealy mouth.

But I kept mum.

The point? If everything were to crash today, the young and middle-aged would be fine. They'd adapt.

But the elderly? They'll be crafting suits of armor out of garbage cans and beating the stinky old shit out of each other in the Thunderdome in no time.

I can't wait.