“We have been seeking answers to the question of what happens to a brain and its contained mind in the relative absence of physical stimulation. In neurophysiology, this is one form of the question: Freed of normal efferent and afferent activities, does the activity of the brain soon become that of coma or sleep, or is there some inherent mechanism which keeps it going, a pacemaker of the “awake” type of activity?”
– John C. Lilly
*Blink* Hello, are you there? Did the turn of the year happen and we all got to stay online…connected to our Internet brothers and sisters through our machines of loving grace? Or am I simply wasting my time and talents early in December of 1999, writing a column which will disapper into the netherworld? Ah well, it matters little…these are only words on a page.
In the late ’80s I had the pleasure of dating a man who actually knew John Lilly, and had interacted with him in person from time to time. TeeVee and Movie Stars have never enamoured me much (except for Harvey Keitel, he could park his shoes under my bed any day), but this vicarious connection to the likes of John Lilly thrilled me. My demands of “tell me more!” resulted in repeated stories. I even begged from time to time to be introduced, but alas, that time never came. I’m sure I would have been awestruck and tongue-tied had that actually happened.
Truth be known, I hadn’t thought of John Lilly and his works in years, until I was in Orlando, Florida for a trade show for the company I work for. Eight long days away from Mooo. Eight long days in which Internet connection cost me .30/minute, (with a $2.00 access fee) and the only machines available to me were PCs running IE. I began to understand the true meaning of “sensory deprivation.”
An unfamiliar and ugly landscape loomed before my eyes. PCs, running IE, everywhere I looked! “Now wait just a doggone minute here…where are the Macs?” Orlando had to be one of the friendliest cities I’ve ever had to misfortune to visit. (I’m a country gurl at heart…city dwellers, please don’t take offense.) People would smile and wave when they cut you off in traffic. Cab drivers would smile when they mentioned that 20% was a customary tip. (*snort*…yeah, right…I may be a country gurl, but I ain’t stoopid!). “How in the world,” I wondered to myself, “could these people be so happy when there’s nary a Mac to be seen?”
I made it to the Orange County Convention Center for set up. I had brought along a Zip disk with our company’s promotional materials all laid out nice, neat and spell checked because I had simply run out of time before the show to get enough materials printed. I was thinking that I’d find a nice, friendly Kinko’s, drop off the disk and go back later to pick up the stuff. “There’s a Kinko’s right here in the convention center, down in Hall C”, the helpful security guard at the door told me. Eureka! I wouldn’t have to drive! Little did I know…
We were set up in Hall A. Hall C was approximately, oh…thirty five miles or so away, as the crow flies…OCCC is HUGE! OK, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but it was a bit of a hike, and I was suffering not only from lack of sleep from flying all night, but also sensory deprivation (no Macs, remember?) But I hurried. “Maybe,” I thought to myself, “they have Internet access there, and I can log on and….and…at least say Hi! to somebody. Maybe catch up on an article or two…*pant*, *pant*”, hurrying along the endless corridor to hall ‘C’…
Kinko’s, dead ahead! I stopped briefly at the cappucino stand, planning to ignore the “no food or beverages inside the store, please” sign which I knew would probably be there. I walked in with a huge smile on my face, Zip disk at the ready, double americano hidden under the sleeve of my sweater and looked around in anticipation. The computer corner glowed with encouraging blue light…pulsating…drawing me closer…and I floated over to the corner with a contented smile on my face.
Boingggg!!!! Reality strikes again. I began to whimper helplessly. A friendly clerk approached, with a smile (again the smiles!) on her face. “May I help you?”
“Where are your Macs?” My hand was shaking, the double americano wetting my sleeve and making ugly brown splashes on the carpet. “Your Macs!!!!! Where are they?”
“Please, no drinks allowed in here”, she replied, removing the double americano from my hand, with a huge smile on her face.
(The next bit of dialogue is edited by your friendly publisher, in keeping with the family atmosphere of this online magazine. However, use of your imagination is encouraged.)
After she had me seated in one of the ergonomic chairs in front of *sob* a PC with an Apple monitor (Rape! I wanted to scream, but I held my tongue), and was smiling as she led me through some deep breathing exercises (good air in, bad air out…now breathe…), she explained that they had “phased out” their Macs because “it was no longer a viable platform.”
“But…but…you are Kinko’s! And I have a Mac disk here, and I need this stuff printed! What’s the (edited) deal here!”
“We might have a Mac in our downtown store”, she replied. “I’m not too sure, tho. You want me to call?”
“No”, I replied dejectedly. I stared at my figurative stuffing on the floor. I was facing reality. All my little airy fairy goody two shoes comments in the past about letting platforms be platforms, and “why can’t we all just get along” comments came roaring home. I suddenly realized my good fortune of working in a small company in which I was allowed my Mac, un-networked, and Mooo at home because that’s how I wanted it.
Then it all came home to me. I would call upon my inherent “fix-it” (once an enabler, always an enabler) nature, and save the world from PC domination! I would become “MacWoman”, savior of the planet from the horrors of the PC world!
(Then I got lost a bit in the outfit….maybe the Emma Peel leather catsuit look, with the long zipper up the front? Or the leather boots, tights, mini-skirt and provocative lacy cape which attached in front with built in black leather undergarment and a little cap sleeve….)
I shambled out the door of Kinko’s. The smiling clerk handed me what was left of my double americano, and thanked me for stopping by. I couldn’t quite manage the smile back. I’d just have to break the news that we’d have to skimp along with the materials on hand. I had no strength left to find a Mac print shop.
The first day of the show I was in the booth explaining our new products. “This product”, I said, “comes in five flavors.”
“Hey, you must be a Mac person!” the visitor replied. “Anyone who describes something as coming in five flavors….”
“Are you a Mac person?” I grabbed his lapel and hung on. “Are you? Huh?”
“Well, no….” he backed off slightly and unpried my fingers from his jacket. “But, uh…we do have a guy here who works with Macs.”
“Oh, well then,” I replied, recovering my dignity. “Why don’t you ask him to stop by the booth?” I smiled the Orlando smile and swiped his badge. “I’ll send your materials in the mail.”
The Mac person showed up the next day. By then I was calm and serene (good air in…bad air out…breathe….) and truth be known, I’d spent $20 on the Mastercard the prior evening accessing the *gag* PC with Internet Explorer to go to a Mac chat…I’d had my fix and it was working. Oh, and he was a pretty man, too! (Bonus!) He geek talked me for a few moments, then was off. I was all better. I had accepted my lot in life. I was plotting dollars for a portable computer, an iBook, perhaps? I spent the rest of the time in Orlando smiling. After all, I have the outfit planned. The Adventures of MacWoman! Stay tuned.
With apologies to John Lilly, whose huge contributions to the expansion of our planet didn’t really deserve this lighthearted allegory.
And huge and sincere apologies to the folks in Orlando. Truly I had a blast! Y’all were too, too nice. And I understand Mickey has a Mac. 🙂
No apologies to Kinko’s PPPpppPPPpppPPPppp. I don’t care how big you smile. It was way stupid of you to get rid of your Macs. Who in Kinko’s management made this harebrained decision, huh? Sheesh…Better watch out for MacWoman!