Minor Irritations, Some of Which are Internet-Related

Okay, first? I am so done with “Reply all.” I’ve actually ranted about this inside my head so many times, and now that I’ve started typing it in, I’m feeling remorse even as I continue because this crime is committed by so many delightful people, friends, and wonderful volunteer organizers. But, dude. Do not send an email to 30 different people and then instruct folks to reply to everyone as if we are all dying to know whether you’re bringing napkins or carrot sticks to the class party. There are all sorts of free volunteer sign-up sites that work, or you can do a free survey monkey to get feedback from people, or you can just have people reply to you and then gather information from 23 people and consolidate it so everyone doesn’t have to suffer through “Wednesday works, I’ll bring sugar cookies!” and so on. It is crazy-making. Or, even worse, when someone uses the “Reply All” to just reply to a single person in the group, like, “Oh, Gladys, it was wonderful to have brunch, and thanks for loaning me your neck brace.” Just stop it. Because someone is wondering why they weren’t invited to brunch and two people are wondering what happened to your neck and possibly up to three people are bored or mild-mannered enough to enjoy reading everything, but most people are, like, shut up. Shut up already. Because it’s awkward. And time-wasting. And annoying. Find another way, because it is not 2005 anymore, mkay?

Now, it’s true that I am not always laser-focused on the internet. Part of this is because one of the things I do, as a job, is to troll around, looking for things to share. If there’s some parent-friendly nugget of wisdom or goofiness, I share it on the KidsOutAndAbout Facebook page, and if there’s some girl-power link or inspiring quotation, it goes on the Schenectady WGG Facebook page. So, in between this and actually starting to write whatever I’m supposed to be writing, occasionally time is wasted. But it’s generally controlled time-wasting. Like when I say to myself, Katie, when you finish Task X, you get to look at those four tabs you opened, or Katie, make those three phone calls and then you get to watch that movie trailer.

But lately I’ve been sabotaged by internet demons. First, those stupid slideshows that are totally clickbaity and worthless, but for whatever reason they just suck a gal in. A couple of times lately, I’ve clicked on some total waste of time like “The Top 12 Most Ridiculous Gilmore Girls Plotlines,” and as I’m clicking, I’m thinking that this will take me, say, 6 minutes, tops, and then I realize that even though they labeled it “12,” there are more than 12 slides. So I’m clicking and clicking and suddenly I’m like, wait, I think that I feel my life draining out of my fingertips at an accelerating rate–is that happening?  Because when you feel stupid enough looking at a dozen slides and then you suddenly suspect that you’ve accidentally clicked through 17 images and the last 6 weren’t even actually funny, you begin to suspect that the internet is sucking out your soul like a Dementor. You’ve definitely gone over that 6-minute maximum without a single LOL, and you can’t get a refund on that time. As if I don’t already feel manipulated enough. I mean, clearly the internet already knows that I’m a sucker for Gilmore Girls/redeemed shelter dogs/zingy feminist quips/weep-inducing coming-out stories, but I can keep my proclivities under control if you’re just honest, dammit.

Another thing I’ve noticed, which is, I think, relatively new, is when there’s a video clip that I want to watch, but it’s embedded in a blog post of some sort. So there’s a headline to attract you, but then they place the video itself way down the below the virtual “fold,” and above it there’s this text, which I start to read automatically, just out of habit. Except then I realize that the text is something like, “Omigod, you have to watch this video! First this happens, and then this other thing happens, and then, if you can believe it, he says this and she says this and they wrap it up with that and,  oh, my, you just have to watch it yourself, look!” In other words, it’s a worthless blah-blah-blah summarizing the two-minute video with text that takes three minutes to read in an insidious effort to get visitors to stay on the page longer without actually adding any value to the experience. I hate that. But it also fills me with this existential angst, because then I start thinking about that poor writer who is just writing about a stupid video with all sorts of faux enthusiasm. And as annoyed as I am about my 30 seconds of wasted time before I realize the trap, mostly it just makes me feel very, very sad for the poor writer who is scratching out a living producing those posts. It makes me feel like I should, I don’t know, light a candle for them or something.

What else? Umm, why are there still people who say “literally” when they don’t mean literally? I mean, shouldn’t we all be self-aware about this foible by now? Whenever this happens, I want to reach out and grab both of the speaker’s hands and gently talk them through the process until they understand the error of their ways. Usually I’m seeing this on the screen or hearing it on the radio, but next time this happens with someone who is within reach, I don’t think I’ll be able to suppress the urge to stop the madness.

Also, it’s been years, and I still love that very catchy song, Best Day of My Life, but whenever it comes on the radio, I’m forced to acknowledge that, in reality, in all likelihood, it’s almost surely not going to be the best day of my life. I mean, I’ve given birth twice, I’ve fallen in love, I’ve gotten married, I’ve walked around Paris and hiked in the Adirondacks and partied at the beach. So if I am in traffic on the way to a sports practice and the next stop is the grocery store, it’s just. . . there’s not a chance, realistically, that something’s really going to make the day rocket up even into my top ten. And I like to sing along, but it feels quite laughably inaccurate.

That is all.

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