Posts tagged ‘Internet’

Excerpt from “Men Behaving Badly”

As she teetered into her forties, she was most surprised by the heavy stream of twenty-somethings (and even teens) who flirted with her. And it wasn’t just the bots on Instagram: real-life young men seemed to want her more than they ever had.

It made no sense.

And yet, it made perfect sense.

March 20, 2019 at 10:47 pm Leave a comment

Excerpt from “Safe Mode”

You splattered me
Across the Internet
Because I made you feel invisible

And, therefore, invincible.

Dear Lolly

June 28, 2017 at 10:47 pm Leave a comment

Excerpt from “Safe Mode”

The opposite of numb (but perhaps with the same result), I plunged so deeply into depression I couldn’t:

drive myself home
pick up a fork
wash my hair
erase my smeared makeup
brush my teeth
swallow 150 mg of relief
pack a bowl
check Facebook
cry
pray
masturbate.

August 11, 2015 at 9:44 pm Leave a comment

Excerpt from “Safe Mode”

Like a tulip shoved under a giant heat lamp, my upper body wilts beneath yet another wave of depression and grief. More than five years have passed since Lisa’s death, but I’ve become increasingly unable to withstand her absence.

I spend the next six hours coding, hoping this attempt to shed the blues (so blue it’s black) may result in productivity. I find myself humming a tune the oldies station hasn’t played in years:

Please lock me away
And don’t allow the day
Here inside, where I hide with my loneliness
I don’t care what they say, I won’t stay

In a world without love

February 12, 2015 at 6:00 pm 1 comment

Excerpt from “Safe Mode”

I was so busy—and so  distracted—I almost didn’t find time to read Google’s newest updates to its privacy policy. The changes would be enacted on March 15, and the symbolism was not lost on me. With less than an hour before the consummate adjustment, a friend dropped off a hard copy of the policy updates. She had altered the text so that a video camera couldn’t easily pick it up.

The apprehension festered in the pit of my stomach. I read down the page to the important part:

Whenever you use our services, we aim to provide you with access to your personal information. If that information is wrong, we strive to give you ways to update it quickly or to delete it – unless we have to keep that information for legitimate business or legal purposes.

A rigid lump welled up in the back of my throat. The broad scope of the language made me dizzy. I scanned the rest of the document. The policy was concise, so I quickly memorized it. Of course, I could have summed it all up in one sentence. But let’s not go there yet.

As I drove toward The Dalles, the following language kept playing in the back of my mind:

Where we can provide information access and correction, we will do so for free, except where it would require a disproportionate effort. We aim to maintain our services in a manner that protects information from accidental or malicious destruction. Because of this, after you delete information from our services, we may not immediately delete residual copies from our active servers and may not remove information from our backup systems.

February 18, 2012 at 3:23 pm Leave a comment

Excerpt from “Safe Mode”

Even if you think you have nothing to hide, it always makes sense to cover your e-tracks. When it used to matter, I had three browsers I’d use for different purposes. Google Chrome was for email, LinkedIn, casual browsing, and other activities I generally didn’t need to purge from my record. Firefox . . . I forget. And then there was Internet Explorer.

At one point, I had two YouTube accounts—one I’d open with Google Chrome, and the other I’d open with Internet Explorer. But then they made you link your YouTube account to your Google account. So I linked my “legit” account to my Google account and dropped the other one, the Internet Explorer one. So there were some videos I just didn’t get to see after that. Which was a shame. It wasn’t like they were illegal or immoral or wrong or anything. I just felt paranoid about looking at anything restricted through my Google account.

I liked at least to pretend I was anonymous. That’s what I’d use Internet Explorer for—all of my anonymous activities. I had some silly username like gemini84 (I’m a Sagittarius and wasn’t born in ’84), and I’d change my password regularly (It would always be something nonsensical like &%$#fraDujlKja9899i9W23). None of that ultimately mattered, but at least I felt I had a sense of autonomy and privacy in a world of virtual spotlights and actual predators.

Turns out I was wise to drop that YouTube account, never to enjoy those restricted videos. Somewhere out there, they really do have more records than the KGB.

December 5, 2011 at 12:28 am 2 comments

Excerpt from “Safe Mode”

Professor Heart Attack (not to be confused with Professor Heartache) used to always tell me that the future—and the now (then)—was all about information sharing and social networks. He had a bit of an obsession with Mark Zuckerberg (and, incidentally, with me). He used to tell me things like, “If I were Mark’s father, I’d tell him to marry you.”

It just so happened that I was a freshman at Princeton when Mark Zuckerberg was a freshman at Harvard. (No, I don’t know him personally. I know a handful of people who went to Exeter with him, but whatever. It doesn’t matter.) When I joined Facebook my sophomore (or was it junior?) year in college, back when it was called “The Facebook,” I had no idea what a key role it would play in my undoing.

I used to resent that Professor Heart Attack, more than 30 years my senior and (last time I heard) without a cell phone or personal email account, was so ahead of my time. He was seemingly compassionate, extremely intelligent, not at all attractive, cosmopolitan, wealthy, and—it turns out—deeply insecure and duplicitous. It seemed cruelly ironic that he—of all people—appeared to escape the disaster when most of us had our worlds ripped out from under us.

Of course, he hadn’t anticipated the ultimate irony. Neither had I.

October 19, 2011 at 9:37 pm 6 comments

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