Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Today in Dystopia

Ah, it's Internet Explorer update time again! And we were just lucky enough to do -- Java? Or was it Abobe? Those delightful times when half the websites I go to won't work properly until I update, and the other half won't after I do.

I already actively dislike the newly designed CTR-F function, which has a bunch of "options." I don't need options: just bring me to the freakin' word I'm trying to find. Nothing like making an intuitive process less so.

Also, the drop-down history menu from the URL field. Where once you'd hit the down arrow, scroll down, select and enter, now you have to scroll down, select, then move your hand over to the mouse and CLICK. Not only is it basically the same process, only with added (and thus inconvenient) steps, but what's with the obsessive clickiness these days? Are the programmers getting kick-backs from carpal tunnel specialists or what?

And I think many of you have been subjected to my rant about the ATM at my bank. Here's a new one: there's another large bank downtown, with an ATM that I've used off and on for, oh, twenty years? I stopped there at 5 pm on a Friday afternoon, on my way to Favorite Dive Bar, to pick up some cash. The ATM is visible through the locked glass lobby doors. Yes, the ATM is in the front lobby. The front lobby is now only unlocked when the bank is actually open. Hence, the ATM is only available when the bank is open, when people don't need the ATM. QED. I guess people have grown so used to ATMs that, much like a tribal ritual from a pre-literate era, the actual purpose for their existence has been forgotten.

Oh, but when I went on to the Dive Bar and its still ironically perfectly functioning ATM (and pay phone!), I passed a sandwich board for the Neo Swanky Lounge, advertising outdoor seating on "quaint, quiet, tree-lined (Salvation Army Street)." (Name has been changed to, well, what I call it). Half a block from what was my temporary Place of Employment for two-plus years. Oddly, I had never noticed its quaint, quiet, tree-lined nature, distracted as I was by the good coffee across the street, and the nice graffiti trains out the side windows.

Neo Swanky Lounge doesn't even have a proper entrance on the tree-lined side, instead routing customers through the back alley. I have alway assumed that's because of the Salvation Army across the street, and the Day Labor Shop + subsidized housing next door. Some people ordering expensive drinks and meals might be put off by my homies, who sometimes hang around smoking in groups, and true enough, there's always panhandle potential. So I had to see this for myself.

And lo! There were a few tables set up behind a chain, next to the building. On the door hung a sign reading: "Please come inside if you would like to be seated outside." Now you can have a faint touch of the Kafkaesque, along with a Reagan-era economic flashback, for the price of one quite delicious champagne cocktail.

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