Friday, August 12, 2016

Real Time in the Mall

I have been dictating my journals into my iPhone for the last few days. I love the language that happens in the shopping mall. I have always loved the vernacular. It is democratic. It is a way to get at the democratic. Mall language is about buying things and invention. It is about pop up toasters, vacuum cleaners, dishwashers; it is about dirty laundry. It is about what people feel when they are trying to make do. When I dictate there is in the language THAT.

Mall language is nonpolitical. It is born out of necessity. It is the companion of silence, the language of people who speak little, who speak only when they must. When they speak, it is to make do, so they are quiet about it. Rarely in the shopping mall is there an uproar. Mall talk is the enemy of the bellicose. Even returns that are almost crazy, box gone, purchase unproven and disheveled are made without lament.

I spent several hours in the mall today. I have often wished that I could dictate into my iPhone in a quiet corner of sporting goods. But talking to yourself, even with an iPhone in your hand, does not seem like the right thing to do. Even in Maine Mall, for instance, where there is more bustle than the local Walmart on a weekday morning, a complaisant shell of privacy for dictating is nowhere to be found. People play with their computers in the coffee shop but they don't talk to them. That would be too weird. Even when sitting in my car making a note with Siri I have got peculiar glances. Earbud equipped geeks like me get the same disapproval bookish, intellectual people used to. If no BT, the wires are awkward. So I have to hide myself in my house to dictate and by then the freshness that I WANT is hard to find: memory is weak, the exact words befuddled.

In the mall today I was impressed by the silence. The mall is a great place to go to get silence. Notice how pragmatic bustle emphasizes silence. And in the language is humility and politeness. Remember there is as much evil in the mall as there is anyplace else. That's why the voices and language of the shopping mall appeal to me. The deal is a pressure of ego, deception and aggression. We mall shoppers are being led astray. We are being instructed to part with our money in order to buy things we probably don't need. Might use is different from need. We will discard these things whenever anything goes wrong with them, they cease to function for any reason, or something comes up that is perceived to be better. And yet we carry on with a soft language, and even seem to enjoy the experience. Some people obviously hate it; they stride rapidly and are anxious to get out. They are different. Most like it; they saunter leisurely. But all try to be polite, ingenuous, even though it is only an act.

What I am trying to get at is a sound. Though iPhone dictation is clumsy and difficult to work with, sometimes it allows me to get connected with that sound. Other people may not be able to tell the difference, but I can. The problem is the klutzy keyboard is still king; the desktop is still president. And it is not even close. The iPad also is a fight to write on, if you write every day and want to get somewhere. But mall talk, mall talk, I will get you with my iPhone!

But I believe the future is in the "smart" phone. I am determined to upgrade soon and my upgrade will be to a phone with almost the power of a laptop. I have a good collection of cargo pants and shorts to stow away connectors, earbuds, folding keyboard, a phone with a large screen, and that will one day be my desktop. Then I'll be able to carry my computer around and dictate notes on my universe in real time. I have always wanted to get deep but failed. Real time is close to deep.

The Pokemon connection in the Walmart was terrible. I ought to complain to the manager.

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