Saturday, June 20, 2009

Selling Myself

Oooh, They’re tricky. I recently booked a night at an Intercontinental Hotel. And guess what started showing up on Yahoo’s banner ads? Yup. Intercontinental Hotel ads, complete with a “click here to save” feature. They’d never been on My Yahoo before and I didn’t actually invite them to start pestering me, but I’ll say that I was pleased to finally move on from the “Obama Asks Moms to Go to School” ads with the dancing chick in skin tight clothes.
Here’s the other creepy tidbit that has started showing up on my Yahoo account. A sidebar listing email contacts who are currently on line. First of all, do I care? Second of all, I feel all invaded, like suddenly a bunch of voyeuristic acquaintances are going to start “chatting” at me when all I want to do is respond to that Intercontinental Hotel ad. If I want to chat with someone, I’ll send an email myself or I’ll pick up the phone (don’t count on it). But I do not need Yahoo informing me that the girl I knew 2 states ago and who still sends me a Christmas Email is currently online. How would I start that conversation anyway? “Hi. Remember me? In the years since you knew me, I’ve become an online stalker and now, every time you check your email, I’m going to talk to you.” How fast can you say “privacy issues?” It makes my free email only slightly more secure than getting my adult kicks on Craig’s List (what loser advertises on Craig’s list, anyway? That’s almost as bad as advertising your “services” on FreeCycle. Might as well just wear a sign saying, “Dumb Cheap and Easy.”)
Now, for some really fun personals, you should check out Harvard magazine. “Male PH.D. in Astrophysics seeks out of this world relationship. Must be female. Alive preferred but not necessary.” Or, for the more subtle seekers: “Fit female Financier seeks likeminded mentally mature male for occasional relationship. Must submit 401K balance upon response.” It’s a nice cross between break-your-heart pathetic and deeply troubling, with a twist of arrogance thrown in. Ahhh, to have so much, and yet so little.
But back to Them. Long gone are the barn painting, sideshow dealing days. Used to be, you could listen to the Medicine Man peddling his wares, enjoy the miracle cures from a distance, and go back to your nice safe farm. But now? You even think the term “Medicine Man” and you’ll find his face smeared all over your Google from here to next week. When some other term will trigger the advertising response and you’ll have a new fun thing to try to ignore. Me, I prefer the old fashioned method. Took a lot more effort to paint those Campbell soup cans than it does to program an algorithm.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Toilet Reader

“If I have some inside, it will be hardy coming out,” sings the 3 year old from the bathroom. It’s her latest poop song. She often sings to herself when sitting on the toilet, mostly because her mother will not let her walk into the bathroom with reading material. I have a photo of her, sitting on the toilet, reading a book. It’s as close to “old grandpa man” as I ever want to see her get. And after I snapped the shot, we had a long discussion about hemorrhoids, disgusting practices and things that are not allowed in my house. We have very nice chairs with reading lamps and no one has to use the toilet as a library, thank you very much. Point is, the child has to entertain herself somehow while she’s in there, so singing it is.
Hal thinks he’s sneaky, though. I don’t think he was a toilet-reader when we first got married. At least, on his best newlywed behavior, he never tried to take anything into the bathroom that could be classified “library matter.” However, I’ve noticed bad practices creeping up. And the older he gets, and the more confident in our marriage, the more he tries to get away with. Little things about the bathroom, like the left-open toilet lid, have magically started looking more like a bachelor’s pad than my haven on earth. And today, horror of horrors, he actually tried to walk into the bathroom carrying my copy of Picture of Dorian Gray.
I find there are several ways to diffuse hostage situations. There’s the best-friend method, which often requires hours of bonding and trust building, and which doesn’t work when someone is currently on the way to the toilet. This method needs advance preparation. Then, there’s the jesting method. Something along the lines of “Oh, I bought toilet paper, so you won’t need the book,” or “Hey, if you hate it that much, just burn it, but don’t torture the poor book.” Occasionally this works, but if your spouse is feeling too manly, his brain may refuse to let the message through. It’s risky is all I’m saying. Today, upon seeing my beloved book headed for sure destruction, I opted for the direct method. “Don’t you dare take my book into that room!” No, there was no smile in my voice, no loving-wife evident. I was all military commando, ready to retrieve a fallen comrade regardless of the risk (substantial) to myself.
The result? He audibly plopped the book onto the desk and continued his journey, alone, as every bathroom trip should be.
Unless, of course, you’re a mother, in which case you never get to potty alone. But, at least I have a 3 year old to sing to me.