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sunday post on tuesday: more north carolina

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He can hardly wait to get up to his room to watch his movie! There are movies that you can watch on the computer, and sometimes the car chimes with a ring that’s so beautifully engineered as to make him wonder why he ever developed doubts in the future.

He overhears, woman to woman: “Big news! I got my first paying customer this week!” The other claps. “Fifteen hours work. Fifteen hours work for one-thousand dollars! I picked out her entire wardrobe, right down to the underwear and accessories. She’s so busy, with the business, that she says she just doesn’t have time. And so my first paying customer!” The other asks a question about her sweater and she replies, “Yeah, Anne Taylor.”

He is not sure that he has any use any longer for the New York Times email updates. Over the years, he has subscribed to them and unsubscribed from them only to subscribe again. They are an index of a certain mood, and as such are unbearable once that mood has slipped away.

A woman sits at the next table listening to a tutorial on her new iPhone. He listens too, percolating in anger.

An older guy says “red wine for me” and his younger wife says “make it a big one.”

Crossing the street, he hears a scream, really a yell. He thinks, first, “The surplus of our industries shouts at passing buses from street corners” and then, as he crosses another street, “Our industry’s surplus shouts at buses from our corners” and then, much later, “The future like the past. Sometimes moreso, sometimes less so.”

He can’t understand what his daughter says on the phone. Most of his side of the conversation revolves around asking her to repeat what she just said.

Later, reading Bookforum in the backseat of the car until he gets woozy, his mother asks “What do you call a PhD in physiotherapy?” He responds “a PhD in physiotherapy.” Later he is asked several times if he has ever been to this particular chain restaurant. Each time, unfailingly, he responds in the affirmative.

They seem happy enough, the people playing golf.

On the TV, someone says “One thousand of these are being offered exclusively to the viewers of this network.”

A life lived with only the most casual relationships. The people who serve you various drinks, the people who sell you various items, some of them on a daily basis. The people who work on airplanes and who work in airline terminals. The people on the phone. This life somehow balanced awkwardly, verging even on imminent collapse, with the increasing mandate to “up-sell.” He is offered credit cards and membership cards and other special offers and opportunities to make donations to local charities. His drinks go from small to medium and then to large, though he refuses the option of a shot of flavor, hazelnut maybe.

Mid-range relationships: Doctors and therapists. Long-distance friends. The colleagues he doesn’t really talk to. Parents.

His father says “Boston really blew it signing this guy” and then “You know I don’t know half the players on either Boston or Tampa Bay” and then “Oh, Longoria got picked off.” He tears another page out of Bookforum.

He handles, earlier, an iPad in the Apple Store. Just as one tipped off as to a catastrophic terrorist attack would ready in his mind the phrase like a Hollywood movie! he has readied It looks and feels like the future! Though he’s had the opportunity to handle one before, he has put it off as long as possible – put it off until today. He nearly purchases one just to have something to think about for awhile – like an irresponsible person in a personal crisis would purchase a pet. He pictures himself, his future, laying in bed reading ebooks and watching movies and then realizes that his future feels less metal and glass and ebooks and more cigarette butts and paper cups and humidity both inside and out.

His father says, “The course was designed by Arnold Palmer. That’s why it doesn’t have any fairways near the greens. Arnold Palmer believed, at least at one point, that you should be able to make the green in one.”

He notices that the road in has been built on a berm and then he sees the tiny stream. He pictures first a flat and flooded road and then the building of the berm with fill.

Written by adswithoutproducts

July 7, 2010 at 4:45 am

8 Responses

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  1. Been lurking for a while — just wanted to say that I really enjoy this blog.

    intractable

    July 7, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    • Ah thanks intractable. Out on a limb with this stuff, helps to hear that someone likes it…

      adswithoutproducts

      July 7, 2010 at 4:48 pm

  2. It looks and feels like the future!

    After the debut of the “new” iPhone, I’m reminded of an old quote from Simon Munnery: “Welcome to the future – it’s broken.”

    I still occasionally see a media story that talks about how Apple’s iTunes “paved the way for legal music downloads”, as if Emusic.com and others hadn’t been around for years before iTunes. Some people still think that the iPhone was the first touch-screen phone on the market. No doubt some people think that the iTab was the first tablet on the market too. It’s a curious type of revisionism: before Apple there was nothing. On the first day of the universe, Jobs created iLight, and it was good.

    My unremitting cynicism about Apple is a bit tedious, but I just find Apple fans to be so annoying. The disappointment at seeing photos taken with cellphones haunts my blog-reading at every step.

    davidaa

    July 7, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    • David,

      Yeah that’s Apple’s specialty – thunderously relaunching technology that’s already in existence – so thunderously that people forget they didn’t invent it. There’s a poster across the mallway staring at me telling me that omigod now, like never before, one can make video calls… But of course there have been phones with videocall capability.

      Still, their product is shiny.

      Sorry about the phonephotos. I’m seriously not carrying around the SLR just to make the likes of you happy!

      adswithoutproducts

      July 7, 2010 at 5:54 pm

  3. so: is this so different from the other side of the atlantic? the dialog feels different, like you were surprised to find yourself in a foreign land. but maybe that has more to do with the particular spot you landed (north-carolina-golf-course)? surely in london or its surroundings, cars chime and networks give special offers.

    David R

    July 8, 2010 at 4:02 am

  4. I must say that the longer I am away, the stranger America seems to me when I come back. It is truly a strange place, especially when you’re in the middle of it rather than at the privileged edges like NYC. All this is to be expected, I suppose. And some of this has to do with the particular circumstances of my visit. But yeah, I am hearing stuff that weirds me out, and it does surprise me a bit just how much I’m noticing…

    adswithoutproducts

    July 8, 2010 at 4:47 am

  5. I could literally do one of these posts everyday I think. Just wasn’t in the mood for much tonight….

    adswithoutproducts

    July 8, 2010 at 4:48 am

  6. i still can’t work out what an itab is for, and even the friends i have who have bought one or are considering buying one can’t tell me.

    i love the way they’re trying to repackage video calling as their invention.

    shake

    July 8, 2010 at 10:02 am


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