“If a horse can be a star, think how dumb the people are.”
— Ella Fitzgerald, “Two Little Men in a Flying Saucer”
My wife and I spent 7 days on vacation in Eastport, Maine at one of Ross Furman’s properties. We spent the first three evenings with our parents, the next two alone, and our final days with some friends who drove up to visit with us at the end of the week. With the exception of a check-in here and there, I spent the entire week disconnected from the Internet and said disconnection felt glorious.
Immediately before we took off, the attention of the networks to which I am most frequently connected was very briefly fixated on the bravery of Antoinette Tuff, a school clerk who—with her cool and her words—stopped a gunman from killing who-knows how many kids and teachers at an elementary school in Georgia. By the Friday before I headed Downeast, attention had shifted to the supposed travesty that is the casting of Ben Affleck in the role of the next Batman. When I peeked in for a quick minute or two on Monday night, I saw that the attention had shifted again, this time to something for which Miley Cyrus was responsible. The camps had been divvied and the opinions were flying.
Perhaps it was because I had spent my first handful of days in I can’t say how long severed from my connection to this sort of madness, or because I was opiated by my own sedatives—a few days of steady drink, hours of recreational reading, and the Downeast air—but… I guess looking in on these micro phenomena from the outside and straining to connect the seemingly unrelated dots between the stories around which these obsessions had formed made me feel like Ella’s two little men in a flying saucer looking in on Earth for the first time and finding the obsessions of its inhabitants illogical, vain, and stupid.
On a brighter note, my attention was likely occupied with similar foolishness when Bangor Saving Bank made the announcement that they have completed and released their smart phone app sometime around a week and a half ago. I have complained pretty loudly about this on the Internet [particularly on Twitter and Facebook] somewhat regularly only to find that a number of other folks have the same complaint (speaking of petty, First World hogwash us regulars of the social web will get up and arms about). Bangor Savings Bank is a great local bank and I am happy to do my personal and business banking with them, but running a business these days requires a good deal of portable banking and Bangor Savings just wasn’t coming through on that front. Also, because their investment in participating in the “discourse” of the social web is seemingly very limited, these complaint-festivals would go unaddressed by the institution in any real way (though employees with whom I am already connected would typically get in touch on the back end and assure that somehow, some way, some day a personal banking app would make an appearance).
Good for you, Bangor Savings, for not having had to endure the Affleck / Cyrus circus, but you should perhaps consider getting someone involved in the conversation, as asinine as it can be. This way you can let us know why there isn’t an app when we are complaining about the lack of one, or you can announce that one is coming when it is, in fact, on its way to our space phones.
Oh, and because nothing seems to unite these parties like the opportunity to drop bombs on people, it looks like bi-partisanship is likely to make a strong come-back, what with the President looking for a vote on military action in Syria and all. I went on vacation as a man of 30 and came home to the still familiar rhetoric of my 20th year. More on that in Vacation Notes, Round II