This is What Happens When You Opt-In

Looking out my third floor window as I tap words into my MacBook Air, I see three crows bounce from bare tree limbs to the ground and back — caw, caw, cawing at each other about their breakfast. The internet once told me if you look a crow in the eye, it will 12196091_952754094793732_8173525927943455115_n-1remember you for three years. Momentarily anthropomorphizing these superior animals, I connect to them telepathically. Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Crow for visiting me this morning. This connection more than compensates for those mornings when their caw, caw, cawing wakes me earlier than I’d wish.

All of a sudden, something pops up in the corner of my screen: “White House forced to reverse course on Trump’s golfing.” I instantly break off my birdwatching and open the link to this urgent story. I don’t dislike golf, but I’m not interested either. However, since the tragedy of 11/8, I involuntarily relinquish my time to so-called breaking news. I click and read. The next thing I know a little box appears with a photo of a pair of shoes I covet. Hmmm, I wonder if those are on sale. I click.

Pope Francis calls these commercial intrusions “opprobrium of savage capitalism.” Yikes. I’m ashamed. But still I click.

When I retired in 2011, I left behind a well-serviced computer and an outstanding modern invention, the Blackberry cell phone. On my own, I wasted time and money trying to replace these gadgets of convenience. Mourning the loss of IT department expertise, I succumbed to the sales pitches of Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile, gobbling up three different mobile phones within six months. The first one, an android, made sparkling photos. It accidentally slipped through my fingers into Lincoln Park’s South Pond as I leaned over to click a photo of a turtle sunning on a rock. For my second cell phone I decided to forego the camera and try a much less costly flip phone. Alas, my thick Irish fingers couldn’t navigate the buttons. The well-trained manager at T-Mobile suggested an iPhone and showed me how easy it was to use, how cheap it would be on a monthly payment plan and how all the information stored in the cloud downloaded (or is it uploaded?) into the phone.

Acquiring a computer was simpler. I knew without an ever-ready IT department, I had to thbuy an Apple since it was the only brand with a store on Michigan Avenue, which I equate, rightly or wrongly, with quality. And it has a walk-in IT department.

After a prolonged learning curve, I have enough knowledge to use my gadgets for news, restaurant suggestions, bus schedules, appointment reminders and a depository for my writing, rants and raves. I maintain an online community of friends, enemies, strangers, relatives, and acquaintances, larger than I could ever handle offline.

Well, Reader, it’s time to brake for breakfast. But first I must read two articles that just extralargepopped up:  “Is a ‘deep state’ subverting the presidency?” and “Bald Eagle Population Booming In Chicago.”

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