End of May 2021
We Don’t Snoop on Our Guests . . .
But our guests snoop on us!
Last summer, that would be the summer of 2020, I moved into my Dream House. And I set about to starting, or restarting life, my life, in a new setting, hopefully with computer settings that worked.
The Dream Settings were not available in my Dream House. Telecommunications services definitely lagged behind me and my needs. The official start of summer 2021 is nearly here (Memorial Day Weekend), and full WiFi capabilities are in-place at the homestead. At least for now.
We have progressed to our present state of a 3rd Internet service provider. I am sure the future will bring to us that infinite frontier of finding yet another Rural Provider, the Pharaoh of the people enslaved in servitude to their WiFi.
For such android-like humans, a day without the computer is not a day worth living. With that kind of approach to life, they are not really living it, merely submitting to an existence. But no one can communicate that truth to them, even through the ether-sphere. All is darkness in their world.
Having survived The Dark Winter, the keyboard zealots now face the appalling prospect of The Dark Summer, or The Summer Before The Dark, or even The Dark Before The Summer.
Ain’t no digital sunshine when I-net’s gone.
Last summer was radiant for me, despite the smoke-cloud cover that obscured sunlight for most of California. During the last week of July 2020, I left digital DOGFACE and other such friendly wireless server creatures behind me when I vacated the Rental Dump.
Once ensconced in my Dream House, and safely situated in my secret Sierra foothills positioning, I underwent the placid but increasingly desperate search for a network connection. Any attempted wireless pathway inevitably left me hanging on the phone line. Unable to reach out and touch my own private Hot-spot, I ran smack-dab into the wireless networks of others.
The line-up was an enlightenment!
During daylight hours of all of that Golden State ashy gray light, my laptop presented to me the bright visions of a world I’d not yet encountered — the pull-down list of wireless servers in my Detected Network Zone.
The free-ranging cluck-signals served an illuminating lesson to me in the psychology of snoops and guest rooms. A digital sea of SuddenLink (better and more accurately known as SuddenDrop) was filled with the Network Name (with the Family Surname!!!), and their Secondary Network, For Guests of Family Name. Dear Husband and I are the only locals with code-bearing network names. (Hint: a classic cartoon character!)
I thereby discovered a whole new world of eavesdropping politesse — to my bewildered astonishment.
That phrase is redundant, but it provides a tolerable level of redundancy in language. Even that minimal level of redundancy is absurdly lacking in the absurdly named Early American, or Colonial, Pipeline, and their ill-protected business functions. Here’s an opportunity for Cancel Culture to do some re-branding good on a likely inside-job that got out-of-the-Host control. And months ago!
In my neighborhood, there are houses with mucho host control, although they’ve completely abandoned hyperspace control over their surname identity! Their guest rooms graciously offer sub-networks to those visitors. The Guest gets to go online and feel completely at-home in the Guest Room, doing whatever it is that must be kept secret from the Host.
It is perhaps presumed by the Guest that Host Homie does not snoop on her guests.
Likewise, there is a crucial presumption made by the Host. This always safe assumption is the comforting myth that the Guest is not hacking into the Host Network — to install some form of Ransomware. I’ve read, in an idiot online opinion globule, that the motive of that cyber-crime is — wait for it — MONEY.
I do not snoop on anyone, and I do not feel the need to prove my virtue to anyone. With so much virtue-signaling in public — and private — lives, I reflexively and instinctively hold my virtue very close to my chest. In my uniquely contrarian way, I think that my virtue is nobody else’s business.
I am more possessive when it comes to the use of my name, even on e-mails. One huge reason why I enjoyed writing for the Federal Government was that my name did not appear on anything I’d written. All written texts went into the Agency-Blob catalogue of poorly written reports, speeches, letters, memoranda, secret dossiers to be leaked, and other such boring piffle. I was but one talented linguist amidst, but not adrift, a sea of dangling participles and the neutered “It” who ran the entire Federal show.
There is, in fact, a Government Style Manual. I was issued one, but I never used it. My ability to think, and write, coherently and clearly was at stake. I keep one on a shelf, like a museum artifact, a fossil that has not yet fallen apart.
The featured federal style du jour, every day, forever, was Passive, Evasive, and Anonymous (PEA). That comatose lexicon is, once again, back in style! Especially when verbalized by fossils at podiums!
In the long ago, I worked with an engineer with an ingrained and daft belief in the Nanny State. She adamantly declared to me that she would not permit her name to be put onto a report she’d just compiled. That document had failed to meet her neurotic specifications, and to arrive at her pre-determined conclusions.
I informed this woman that no one’s name goes on any report in that agency.
The look on her face was one of complete horror.
Little Miss Term Paper would not be getting credit — and name-fame recognition — for her mangling of the finite element analysis to advance her anxiety-attack premise that this dam was about to collapse — burst! — under seismic-induced stress, or reservoir-induced seismicity, my hilarious McGuffin in NORTHSTAR.
In truth, she was under more stress than was that dam during the hypothetical 7.9 earthquake. For her, it was entirely self-induced stress. And that angst wafted over to me to fudge some language to prove her China-syndrome point:
I’ve discovered a life-threatening condition about to erupt and The Feds are covering it up! I fear for my life!
I feared for the office budget that year. Most of it was going to a stuffy screwball university contractor whose price went up with each supplemental change order to the Seismic Study. That government study with the 100% level of confidence sure had become a bottomless-contractor-money pit.
It was quite a bore for me that day at the button, hitting eject and reject of The Science.
To return to the button (and the S key that I’ve worn out), this morning I received a phone call, followed by a voice-mall, followed by an email regarding verification of my home address.
Within the past year, it has become abundantly clear to me that my New House is not being shown on any computer maps. Even nosy neighbor Zillow, and the creepy BeenVerified (which reportedly provides an option-out) cannot find me. Nor can the prying digital eyes of Spokeo, a “name” that sounds an awful lot like Spokane-o, the host home of Mr. Mini-Soft, who never snoops on his guests, only on the rest of us.
All of this mystery as to my real locale makes me very happy! My dear Annabella taught me well the tricks of her trade. She is currently tilting that little cat-nose and smiling joyously upon me from her celestial cachette.
The vendors, however, from whom I buy roses, nightgowns, and beautification products, were not happy. Many of them called my cell phone, with the extremely worried, if not fearful, statement that my location cannot be verified. Please call ASAP.
I do get around to the return call a lot more quickly nowadays, since 3 or 4 packages were returned to sender as a result of my lax time-response. My disciplined and calmly spoken explanation to the Customer Service Person as to whether this New House is in “a New Subdivision” [i.e., in Suburbia] was, and shall remain:
“I live on a lot that was once part of a parcel of 150 acres, recorded in this County more than 100 years ago. My physical address has not yet been recorded at that County Office.” [And hopefully it never will be!]
This morning, I delegated the morning business cell-phone call, along with the fully expected voice message, to Dear Husband. He informed me that those modes of communication were unnecessary: he’d already answered their email to me, and thereby resolved the whereabouts enigma for them.
“You went onto my laptop?”
“And you used my name?”
I pondered the identity-intrusion and identity-loan for a few moments, and then I perused the body of the faux-Debra text. Dear Hubby has got a fairly good grasp of Debra-ese, at least online. Direct, short, polite but efficient. The vendor sent a much more effusive response than I would have gotten with my own words.
I felt as if I was snooping on myself.
Before long, we might all feel that way in the virtual world that we’re trying almost too hard to escape into reality. Without conducting any spurious and simulated finite element analysis, I am willing to put my name, from California, on this essay that hereby exhorts the urgent warning in NORTHSTAR:
SAFE: Seismic Awareness For Everyone.
Cause there’s a whole lot of shaking going on back in those colonies.