Automated dormancy

A fictional piece of my real life

Lately, I sometimes find myself talking to our household’s machinery when nobody else is around. It’s nothing unusual for someone as used to communicating with advanced electronic devices as I am to assume a technological artifact would have some sort of character.

The other day, early in the morning, I was talking to the Coffee Man while he was brewing my imperative daily dose of caffein. Nobody else was awake or online yet and I felt the urge to discuss matters of deeply philosophical interest which, unfortunately, kept me awake for the last four hours. I had already sent my laptop to sleep mode and since the Coffee Man supplied me with a much appreciated remedy against everyday’s morning huff I suppose he was the only object present I could project a personality onto. So I fed him with power and ingredients and started discussing said matters with him. While I was mumbling about, it slowly dawned on me that probably I am, for a large part of my lifetime, rather interacting with the spawn of a perverted technocracy than with real people. My initial concerns were washed away. It felt creepy to be ripped out of drowsiness by the realization that every attempt to deal with technology on a subjective level always leaves you in a loophole referring back to yourself. Technology merely adopts the character of it’s user returning solutions but no answers. You’re passively stuck with yourself in the waiting line until connected to someone or something somewhere.

My dreary eyes popped clear when Mr. Coffee Man suddenly burped in a blubbery and very reproachful way. But I excused his objection as I would do it with a good old friend of mine and carried on.

I heard scientists calculated that people in the western world spend most of their life waiting for things to happen, the other part of it, they sleep. By reason, there shouldn’t be any time left for anything else. For all it’s worth, I am spending most of my lifetime speaking to or into little plastic gadgets, starring into one of the many displays or dealing with frighteningly complex automats which were mere sience fiction just before yesterday. I am flooded with extraordinary amounts of information about my surroundings and even non-surroundings – external perceptual organs that won’t leave you to rest even if you shut them down. And it feels as natural as if those things had been around forever. Even more so, it sometimes feels more natural and intuitive than coping with the troubles of interpersonal relationships. What is this fascination for technology and the power it lends to us? Is it an attempt to understand the singularity of the mind or it’s sheer incomputability?

No, I am just being weary from a bad sleep, I said to myself. Been there, done that, I’m human after all. There’s nothing to worry about. The only reply Mr. Coffee Man gave so far was a gurgling noise signaling the impending completion of the brewing process, which he eventually managed with a beeping sound, turning himself off as if he has had enough of my grouchy whining. Even the refridgerator gave up his reassuring hum. Silence.

I was staring into my empty cup. Only the sensation of a cans-and-wire coversation with a faceless unresponsive being at the opposite end remained – and a bad taste on my tounge which coffee wouldn’t fix either. Maybe Mr. Coffee Man was listening, but then again, he could not understand what I was saying anyway. The wire would not translate the meaning of my words and the only thing coming out of the can was a puff of steam like a last dying breath. He decided to cut himself out of the conversation. Why am I talking to dead machinery, I asked.

He did not reply.

I wasn’t keen on coffee anymore. My mind was relieved. The sudden flash of awarness pushed away the information overload and a warm feeling of tiredness engulfed me. I went back to bed and finally fell asleep, dispersed and eased. It was a dead sleep.

Two hours later my cell phone gave me a wake up call and I got up to check my e-mails and facebook:

“Otto Normal and 11 other friends changed their profile picture.”

I clicked on ’11 other friends’ and looked at their images. I liked them all.

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