Sitting here in America. Specifically, outside a Starbucks at a massive outdoor mall in Tustin, California. The parking lot is lined with cars, its perimeters defined by martial lines of palm trees. The sky is grey. The coastal inversion layer has not yet moved out west, over the ocean. Young people at neighboring tables eagerly talk business. Behind me, a couple of Mexican workers pass the time of day in Mexican-accented Spanish. I have read the editorial pages of the New York Times. I have just finished my double latter and the lox-and-bagel sandwich I brought with me, and am contemplating the possibility of a second latte. I’m unable to get online. I thought that every Starbucks in the world was wi-fi’ed, but this one appears to need a “subscription” of some kind; so I write in Word, and will cut and paste later.
I am waiting for my Prius. I took it in to the Toyota dealership this morning for its 15,000 mile service, in preparation for our long road trip up north with George the dog. Ellie has been complaining, also, of a rattle, which she hears from the passenger seat and is a constant irritation. Also we want to get our Bluetooth voice command system activated, now that we can only use our cell phones hands-free in California these days. We want to be able to say, “Peter, Office”, and be connected right away. This is America. (Actually, we use our cell phones very little in the car, but you never know, do you? Best be prepared for that emergency when it’s absolutely needed!) And to think that it’s a few scant years since we all drove our cars (most of us, anyway) without needing to make or receive telephone calls… How rapidly things change.
Anyway, here I sit in America, wasting my time—and yours. Don’t you hate it when people call you from their car phones because they’re sitting in traffic and have nothing better to do than waste your time? Their assumption is that you, too, have nothing better to do than help them waste theirs. This is currently one of my most cherished pet peeves. I’m sure you-all have your own. Could I persuade you to share one with me? Or have you, unlike me, no time to waste?