Middling

The fancies and reflections of a loquacious ninja

A study in personification

This post obviously needs some explanation. This is the best I’ll be able to give you.

Please note that this was written within a very short time period, with minimal editing, and less logic than is usual in mind.

Yes, I know it’s long. But believe me, it could be worse.

Enjoy!

My Enemy and Me

Recently, my life got infiltrated by an enemy I’ve been (successfully, til now) avoiding.

Cell Phone. We finally meet.

I don’t need you, I don’t want you. I know you’ll just be an annoyance to me, and that I’ll just lose you when that’s exactly what I’d like to do, but I’d get in trouble for it because you’re expensive.

As if we should never dare to do away with the stuff that torments us just because it cost a wad of moolah.

But that’s probably something I’ll understand better when I start paying for gas.

Anyway, back to my enemy, who’s now sitting next to me on my desk as I write, feigning innocence rather well by pretending to be off.

But it’s a lie. I know it is. He’ll still chime if a text comes through or blare a song if someone decides to call even if the screen is deceptively blank right now. I could turn him off for real (and hopefully for good), but I know I’m not free to do that. Once again, I’d probably get in trouble.

Trouble with whom? Perhaps that’s the worst part. My trouble would result with none other than the people I love most. My family.

They know perfectly well my feelings towards my foe here. At least they think they do. But for reasons that are perhaps better to not ponder… they are on his side.

I don’t know how, I don’t why. But they weren’t the only ones either. Many of my closest friends turned traitor and told me to, even begged me to let my enemy come into my residence and live beside me. I don’t blame any of them. I know they get along perfectly well with their Phones, some of them perhaps slightly obsessively. It’s not their problem. They simply cannot know what it is like to have such an enemy lurking in your pocket or backpack.

But they are not responsible for the infiltration. Sadly, it was my family. They simply and cheerfully informed me that they would be letting down the drawbridge and letting my foe in, and there was nothing I could do about it. They’d threatened to do it before, but until recently, I had been spared, partly because I was able to ward off the attempt using skill honed over a lifetime, and partly because the Fates had been indispoed to let me suffer so.

But recently, the Fates high-tailed it for Djibouti and left me without much-needed protection. I was out of maneuvers. My enemy got in.

And so, I was forced to open up my home and welcome in my foe, like a guest that you know will set fire to the furniture the moment your back is turned and blame it on the cat (if I had one… I guess he’d blame it on the fish). He sauntered in (as best a Phone can saunter), trying not to look smug, and utterly failing, but not looking too disappointed at failing. Certainly not as disappointed as me.

The problem with guests is that if they get lost or stolen, it’s your fault. Your responsibility. Maybe you couldn’t care less. But if they spill coffee on themselves, set their hair on fire, unleash a banshee or get left behind on a trip to China, someone gets in trouble, and it’s not going to be them.

I’ve always been on slightly shaky terms with Electronics. The Computer and I get along pretty well, except when he’s got a connection down and I have no cure, but at least we try to help each other. The Radio downstairs is pretty cooperative. The Radio upstairs is a jerk and likes to make me guess what I have to do this time to make him turn off. Electronics that are strangers are usually very cold and unwilling to do anything, or downright hostile. But a Cell Phone is a whole new breed.

He’s like a map of uncharted waters that look prime for sea monster breeding season. Thankfully, I’ve already had several run-ins with his kind already, in which my ignorance and complete cluelessness finally lead my younger brother (who is on very good terms with the Electronica Mafia) to pull me out of the murky depths and rescue me (with some amusement and completely justified we’ve-been-through-this-before scorn), so I’ve watched them in action close-up before. But still, my foe seems fathomless. He could pull out any weapon, any trick on me if I’m not careful; I know he’s capable enough with all those little icons and buttons, five-sixths of which are unknown, mystery boxes of death to me (or maps with none of the roads labeled and the compass upside-down).

But it’s more than just my uncertainty about his inner workings that makes me regard him the way I would regard a mosquito with fangs that I’m forced to house-sit. I know he’ll try to run away (they always do), and I’ll get blamed for it. It’s happened before. Thankfully, I can cage him in a zipper pocket usually (it’s annoying, but I suppose it’s wise to keep my enemy so close), but sometimes I have to transfer him between bags, and I know that each move is a prime opportunity for him to escape. I’ll have to watch him…

I could go on. Making sure he’s charged is like feeding and cleaning up after a pet you don’t like that needs way too much of both. Remembering to turn him on and off for classes is like trying to remember that one pronunciation difference in a foreign language that changes “I need bathroom now” to “Your kiwi is fat” (which would certainly insult someone in the wrong country). And so far, his behavior is already making me wary. He can delay a text I need to hear from someone for over a week if he wants to; he already has more than once, and I bet he’s planning something bigger soon too. And with an arsenal his size, I think I’m justified in considering sleeping with a staple gun under my pillow.

But who knows… perhaps if we learned to get along, life could work out… If we do, it’d have to be through his effort, it’s not my fault we’re at odds, I’m not the one being difficult. But maybe… just maybe…

I guess we’ll have to see.

But I still refuse to let Facebook in my house. He stays out.

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10 responses to “A study in personification

  1. Rachel September 16, 2011 at 7:54 am

    *looks up for others comments… finds none*

    YES!!! IM FIRST!!! BWAHAHAHA!!! (theres a certain delight at being the first at anything … im not competitive as its plain to see…) (unless its like, the first in a line for a firing squad, first penguin to be shoved off the cliff by other penguins, first person to… well you get my gist)

    but i digress… back to what im saying.

    this is the best one yet.

    my mother (and i) look forward to every new post of yours for deep thought and entertainment. and i tell you, if you don’t find someplace to publish this (Washington post?), you know i will. i know people will pay good money to have this in their paper.
    i didn’t know you had such wary feelings towards this piece of technology! im having a minor pang of guilt for urging you to get one now haha 🙂

    as they say, keep your friends close, but keep your enemies even closer.

    • Timothy September 16, 2011 at 12:22 pm

      Yes, there are lots of pros and cons to being first (those poor penguins…). I also like being the first to comment on stuff. 🙂

      Thanks Rachel! Yes, I’m fully aware that if I don’t take charge of this, you will. In fact, it makes me a bit uncertain for the future…

  2. Janice Hidey (@JaniceHidey) September 17, 2011 at 8:28 pm

    Classic Tim. Yes, you are old school and refreshing. I agree with Rachel that this piece should go places. Though I am no longer your teacher I still want to read your writing as you share your thinking, your dreams and your insights. I love it that you are not going to pulled in by so much that drives your generation. Keep writing Tim and sharing your reflections with us and most importantly “don’t let this world squeeze you into its mold.” Romans 12:2 (J.P. Phillips translation)

  3. Sarah Beth September 18, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    Hahaha! This made me laugh! I am not on such great terms with Phone either. I have successfully killed one (I drowned it!), and I am ready to kill the new one as it keeps forgetting to wake me up in the morning. For some reason the alarm is not properly working. Urghhh!!!!

    P.S. I don’t allow the evil Dr. Facebook in either!

    • Timothy September 24, 2011 at 8:58 pm

      Believe it or not, I’ve drowned one of the Phone brethren myself (though it belonged to someone else, so it wasn’t really a victory by any standard). I’m glad to hear that I’m not the only one who has trouble getting along with them though!

      Hmm, Dr. Facebook… this could go places. *plotting grin*

  4. whisper September 22, 2011 at 9:32 am

    WOW. This is brilliant, Sir Tim! BRILLIANT. XD The analogies are perfect, your hatred is hilarious. This is the best thing I’ve read all week, at least. ^_^ It reminds me of something a friend of mine wrote – it was a four (?) part series chronicling his battle with the monstrous foe Procrastination. I think you’d enjoy it; the link to part 1 is here: http://teenagewritingrocks.blogspot.com/2011/04/personification-challenge.html

    and part 2 is http://teenagewritingrocks.blogspot.com/2011/04/personification-challenge.html

    Anyhow, a masterfully-done post. Oh – and I would advise a cat ‘o nine as opposed to a staple gun – the former I find has much more destructive potency. *nods*

    all the best,
    -whisper

    • Timothy September 24, 2011 at 8:55 pm

      Actually, believe it or not, Jake’s Personification Challenge was the very thing that inspired this post, which I found through a link that you posted not too long ago. Small world we live in, no?

      Yes, though I’ve never met Jake, I greatly admire the mastery with which he wields his words and his infamous Pen of Doom (and quoting Cyrano de Bergerac during a duel with Procrastination? That is the height of awesomnemity!). Is it a four-part story? I can only find up to part three, and I really want to know how it ends! If you know where the missing conclusion to the saga is, please let me know!

      Hmm, yes, and I suppose a cat o’ nine is less dangerous to have under your pillow while sleeping than a staple gun, though frankly, I find it much more frightening without really knowing why…

      • whisper September 28, 2011 at 9:58 am

        Truly?? I am delighted that you’ve read his Challenge, and that it inspired this hilarious work. 😀 Small world indeed!

        “height of awesomnesity” describes Jake and his writing perfectly. ^_^ Here is part 4; it took me a bit of hunting to find, but it’s well worth it – a fitting conclusion to a grand tale. http://teenagewritingrocks.blogspot.com/2011/09/battle-fought-at-midday-part-vi.html

        Cat o’ nine tails DO have frightening connotations, but, to me, also exhilarating ones. They’ve been involved in several stories that I’ve read and/or written. Ironically, a cat o’nine was an element in a story which I read years ago and which led me to an online site from which I actually met Jake and many other good online friends in the first place! O_O And it was a great book, too. 😀 If you like adventure/pirate stories and have time on your hands, you might look into “Isle of Swords.” But I digress. >_>

        simply,
        -whisper

  5. Jake September 28, 2011 at 11:53 am

    A delightful and somewhat foreboding tale. Definitely a great spin on Personification! *applause*

    But don’t let Phone get coddled too much. They tend to get spoiled very fast, very easily. And then they throw fits and turn off and on at random intervals, or call you with high sound in the middle of a quiet Starbucks or a pirate galley. I went on a ship once that had a sign that read, “Plees tern al fones on vybrate, or well make it wock tha plank.” (Sailors aren’t known for the spelling.) They’ve bad experiences. One was lynched with the cord of a cordless phone.

    I highly recommend “Isle of Swords” as well. Fantastic book, mate.

    • Timothy September 29, 2011 at 7:09 pm

      Thank you Jake! And it’s good to finally get to meet you! (as well as can be done via Internet) *shakes hand cordially*

      Believe me, I have no intentions of coddling whatsoever. Phone is already acting up if you ask me; he’s been holding my text messages hostage for days at a time, and I don’t even know they exist until he graciously decides to release them. *scowl* I’m still keeping an eye on him… O_-

      Would being lynched with a cordless phone cord kill you? Cause if it does, sounds like an especially awful way to die…

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