Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Jessica came to visit me last weekend. We were acquainted way back when I lived in Murfreesboro – she was a friend of friends – but in the past five years we've become decent online buddies.

On Sunday we sat in traffic on the way to Buckhead and talking about online interaction . Well, really, we were talking about men, but interactivity was all tangled up in that.

I loved him, I think, but what he loved – what he fell in love with –
was not me, but online me. We used to Instant Message all day. What
he was really in love with was the feetnik, not Jessica. And when he
asked me to marry him, I just sat down and cried after I said yes,
which should have been a clue that things weren't right.

I get that. I totally get that. Jessica started to blog just a little bit before I did. She used to have a full-on web page, but now that she's out of school she's cut her online presence back to a livejournal. I've had interactivity on the brain
lately, thinking about how my digital self can be at times so much more comfortable and at rest than my, my…RL self? My corporeal self?, no, none of that is right. I am one whole person, not an online person and an offline person. Honestly, when you meet me and hang out with me, I'm just like this. But I can understand how it is easier to relate to someone without having to see them. Words and noises and
feeling move differently here, inside the internet. This is easier than hanging out in real life, because a person can modulate exactly what they would like to say and how they would like to appear. In face to face interaction, there are so many other cues to a person's presence, so many visual prejudices and habits to overcome.

Take, for instance, my experience at Tiffany's this weekend.

I hate Tiffany's. If I've offended you, I'm sorry. Tiffany's is the sort of place where they have solid silver monogrammed ice buckets for sale, along with a lot of overpriced jewelry. I admire the craftsmanship of the old Tiffany stained glass and art nouveau jewelry. But if you think that a $2,500 silver monogrammed ice bucket is a good idea, and you don't understand how having a $2,500 silver monogrammed ice bucket makes you sort of a worthless human being, then
you shouldn't be reading this anyway. Please go hock your goddamned ice bucket on ebay, give a grand to charity, and spend the other grand on something more useful, like, maybe, therapy. If you own this sort of object, I believe that you fail to separate the worth of a human being from the physical possessions.

Jessica and I ended up at Tiffany's because some goddamned worthless human being gave the husband and I gifts from Tiffany's for our wedding. I would have returned them before now, but Tiffany's is in Buckhead, which I dislike driving to, and the one time when he and I did try to return the stuff the doors closed on us. Seriously. It was 6:55 and they close at 7:00 pm, and as we rushed down the hall
with useless crap to return, we watched those big silver doors close…

Well, when Jessica visited she wanted to go out Buckhead way to look at fancy closes and cosmetics, and since I was going with her I thought I would return the useless Tiffany's stuff – champagne glasses and a crystal candy dish. These are the two cheapest items you can get from Tiffany's, by the way. They added up to just over a hundred dollars, and even a keychain at Tiffany's is at least $175. Several people have asked me why I didn't just re-gift the crap to people who would be more impressed with the Tiffy's blue boxes than I was. And let me tell you why I won't do that: I don't want to be the kind of person who gives useless Tiffany crap. Regifting something useful, like a frying pan or a coffee maker is OK, because those things are needed and useful things. Regifting an ugly candy dish is cheap and not really a gift at all. It's foisting societal garbage onto someone else.

So we went to Tiffany's. And they did not appreciate that I wanted to return their stuff. And they asked me all kinds of difficult questions, to which I lied like a rug. You are supposed to return things to Tiffany's within 30 days of their purchase. I said we had been on a honeymoon for months and months. The salesgirl had to go get the manager. I stood at the counter, and quiet anger filled the spaces all around me so throuroughly that Jessica excused herself to the mall hallway to get out of the tense situation. I didn't blame her at all. I have enough anger in situations like this that it can surround me like a fog. I didn't say or do anything aggressive; it was just my presence. That's something you only get to experience in face to face interations with me. It took jessica by surprise, because she knows me from online.

I wasn't loud. I didn't yell. I stood quietly at the counter and smiled. I was wearing a faded black and blue baseball shirt with jeans and the black leather thick soled shoes I bought when I was told that army boots are no longer acceptable. I stood and waited for the manager. And I murmmered quietly to Jessica just before she skipped out into the hall that if Tiffany's didn't take this crap back, I was
leaving it on the counter and walking straight out of the store. I discretely eyed the other customers, who were busy buying expensive, useless crap.

Eventually they decided to let me out of the store. I was given a store credit, for which I wanted to trade for cuff links. This meant I had to give Tiffany's all the money in my wallet. Because cuff links at Tiffany's are $150.00. I will use them my whole life. They cost me $27. I think that's about how much cuff links should really cost. The sales ladies assumed the cuff links were for my husband. I let them know that they were for me (men's shirts come with longer sleeves, so I often wear them). They then assumed I wanted them gift wrapped. No, I really didn't, but by then it was too late. Ribbons were being tied, and I was forced to stand at the counter, looking at a $1,200 pool ball rack, and jewelry that was themed to match.

When she handed them over, the girl at the counter kept asking – Don't you want them engraved?,

No. No, I don't want them engraved at Tiffany's. If I get these links engraved, it will be at an honest jeweler's or gift store somewhere else where people have got good sense. And I will have them put something a lot better than my initials on. Maybe dragons or a sun or a simple drawing of an upraised middle finger. But I didn't say this to the salesperson. I gave her a tight smile and left the store.

None of that would have happened in an online store. More to the point, if the person who bought that unwanted stuff for me had simply checked my registry online, she would have seen the type of things I like, the type of person I am - deadly practical. Except, of course, for that $200 toaster I asked for as a joke. Of course someone bought that, too...

One day I'll feel comfortable around money. That day is not today.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Hooray! Ouch. Hooray!

I apologize for posting the same thing here that I've posted to my LJ. I usually try to write here and just post little things to LJ. But right now I'm on a lot of pain meds. Here's the good and the bad from the past few days. I'm sure there was blackberry cobbler and fireworks in there, but right now all I can think about is healing up.


Yesterday, I accepted a position in an academic library to start after I leave the current job.


Yesterday, I went to the desntist/oral surgeon at 7am for a brief wellness visit, and ended up in 6 hours of oral surgery.


The husband bought me a blue iPod mini as a congrats gift for the new job.


iPod batteries only last about 3 hours, so the battery wore down during the surgery and I didn't have any other music to listen too.


Affordable childcare at my new job.


Not being able to take sleeping gas during surgery, 'cause I'm trying to get pregnant and laughing gas can damage fetuses.


Chocolate soy milk, mashed potatoes made with chicken broth, ginger ale, cold bottled water, pain medicine, sleep.


Lots and lots of stiches in your mouth.


My oral surgeon, Dr. Kaufmann, without whom I'd have two less teeth right now.


Hearing your oral surgeon say: "I've seen infections like this 3 times in 30 years, and once a decade is quite enough."