Nosy Machines Are Turning Me Into An Introvert.

I used to be an extrovert. Yeah yeah, stop snorting, all y'all dudes and dudettes who know me. It's true. I USED to be an extrovert. If there was something that needed to be said, I said it. If there was a party to be crashed I crashed it. If there was a hideously embarrassing gaffe to be made, I made it. And then wrapped it up in Christmas paper, slapped a bow on top and ran it up a flagpole for the world to see. Which, actually, has nothing to do with extroversion. That comes from my Dork gene.

Now while those who share my abode and social sphere would say I'm still like this, I would submit that there's been one crucial change: I like my quiet space. I like my quiet time. And I want everybody and everything that ain't in the "Need to Know" crowd to step away from the Janiel.

It's not that I don't like the general populace; I do. I like them a lot. People are cool. Differences are fascinating. Kindred spirits are a joy to find. Kumba-yada-yada. 

Nope. The thing I have a problem with isn't general people; it's all the information gathering that goes on behind little computer-chipped screens and monitors and keypads everywhere I go, by non-general people. Like, doctor's offices. They need to know my social security number? Why? So they can pay into my account? (I have one, right? Right?) Facebook must keep a record of every post I change my mind on and delete, becaaaaaause . . . I . . . might write an autobiography someday and they'll be an invaluable resource? Telemarketers gotta call and get all my stats so they can sell me stuff I don't want or need? (In fact, they already have that info or they couldn't have called me. Which, so not okay.)

And then there are airports. The last time I went to New York City, I am pretty sure the x-ray machine at security did not need to rotate clear around me and find the exact location of my birthmark. Or its shape.  (Lady Gaga holding a can of Spam, if you must know.)

Finally, what about gas stations? The other day I pulled into a popular one in my lovely town, whipped my credit card in and out of the little slot-thingy (that's the technical term), and was barraged, BARRAGED I tell you, with personal questions: 

What is your zip code? Why? Are we going to be pen-pals, this pump and me?

Would you like a car wash? Excuse me, is this pump judging me? Like, my car looks dirty? Really? How does this nosy little pump know what kind of day I've had, huh? Did it get thrown up on this morning? Did it's kid tell it that, Oh Yeah, there are forty non-disclosure documents it has to sign before school starts in three minutes or the kid drops an entire grade point? Did it just finish listening to a friend talk about her efforts toward her family's nutrition, and have the queasy realization that the last time it cooked a balanced meal with two actual vegetables (not counting the ketchup) was in 2003? NO? Then back off on the carwash insinuations, Pump-Boy!

Please select a grade. Select a grade. I don't even know what that means. Does this gas pump want to know what grade I am in? What grade I finished? I don't want to tell it what grade I finished. Why should I have to do that? FINE. I didn't graduate from college, a'ight? I am Studentus Non-Graduatus. Changed my major 3 times. Added several minors. Finally gave up and got married.

-Like it needed to know that.

Or hey! Maybe the gas pump wanted me to grade it. Well, baby, when you go back to charging 95-cents per gallon, and keeping the personal questions in your pyschotherapist's office where they belong, we'll talk about upgrading you a bit. In the meantime, I'll be paying with cash. And looking into an electric car. And maybe . . . maybe . . . crashing a party or two.

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About Janiel 432 Articles
I have managed to keep the same husband for nearly three decades, and the same four children for almost that long - although one or two of them say it has been much longer. I have been writing since I learned to hold a pencil, and trying to make people laugh even longer. I hope to do some good in the world before I go the way of it. And if not, I'd better at least get to visit Ireland.

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