Locating you

When I used the Facebook app just now it told me it was busy, Locating you.

Stop it, I mentally commanded it. That is not necessary. If I wanted you to Locate me I would Check in. I would not have location services turned off. Also, I am not lost.

Oh yeah, I can hear my kids saying about a year from now. Remember when mom thought she could turn off location services. That was cute. Everyone knows we’ve geotagged her in “the laundry room.”

But where have I been? I haven’t been here. I have been elsewhere. Hanging out with other people, online, in a place I will call “Sam’s Office.”

I worked in an open-plan office for many years. Around the periphery were four offices with doors, one of which belonged to “Sam.” We had conversations in there. Sometimes others would join us. I did not have an office. Sometimes, if I needed time for quiet reflection, I would mime the pulling down of a roller blind. Other times I gently closed the French doors, or slammed a great big heavy one. Telephone conversations were never private.

Sometimes we reconvene in group messages online. It’s not the same as being in the same room but there is still a certain immediacy which blurs the line between who you’re hanging out with and who you would define as being in your life.

Because of these online group chats I suddenly know about the shower door breaking in my old office mate’s apartment and they know that I had to replace the battery in my car and all the while it was being worked on the people at the battery place were complaining about corporate (and I’m thinking, You guys are a franchise? Really?) and how there is some competitive thing going on with the other branches that involves the ordering of chocolate fountains. And that’s the kind of weird information I would normally share here. First. With you.

When I came back to this blog, I wasn’t sure who I was talking to. I didn’t know what to say. So I gently closed the door and crept off back to the noisy party down the hall.

Now they are all talking about the Oscars, but I haven’t had time to look through the pictures or read Tom and Lorenzo so I am coming back here, to my room to chill out for a bit and collect my thoughts.

When I nipped over to T & L to grab the link for you, I was faced with this new breed of targeted web ad where the Land’s End ad shows you a parade of the last items you looked at on their site. They have followed me over to the fabulous bitchfest that is T & L to remind me about the plaid sundress I was considering. Like, I was being ironic?

No you weren’t.

Well, maybe I was.

And then you looked at a box pleat skirt.

Seriously uncool. That was three days ago. I’m not there anymore.

The caller ID said it was a New York number but the line was scratchy and it’s my friend calling from Morocco. He is here. He is a photographer and I tell him he should be taking pictures and posting them somewhere where I could see them. I took no pictures in Morocco and now I wish I had. He would appreciate that when they had just come out with Google Earth and my dad heard I was going to Mauritius  he plotted our journey so that we could see the terrain we’d be flying over.

This weekend a friend described landing in San Diego and seeing the stark contrast of the US/Mexico border. Lush on one side and ravaged on the other. When I checked just now what strikes me is the extension of their dense grid right up to the line. The shared coast, the blurred out box of whatever checkpoints exist, how you can pull the little orange man of out the slider and walk around Tijuana. Which I might be too scared to do in real life. Which is why we can be so hard to locate these days.

We are in conversation with so many people, in so many planes. We are little orange walking figures in a multiverse. Where do we go to check out? The Hotel California just brings you back to Sam’s Office, which is too insider of a reference to end with. The line from the song, “You can check out any time you like, but can’t never leave,” is slightly better. And when I went to check the lyrics, (can’t ever or can’t never?), there’s a stain resistant chino skirt flashing across the screen which I swear I had never looked at before. But it has located me anyway.


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