The company sprung for the big technology convention in Las Vegas
this year (again). But this time, I got to go instead of Wade from
the call center. Wade* (allegedly) got drunk on the company card
last year, and my dreams of ever going to the technology convention
all but died when I heard. However, rather than penalizing the rest
of the department, management in their infinite wisdom (where has
it been all this time?!) decided to choose someone else to go.
I kinda figured Melissa**, the one that always flirts with the manager,
was locked-in for getting the plane tickets and hotel stay, but somehow
the honor fell to me (I only ever flirted with the manager once,
and that was an experimental phase I went through).
So anyway, last Friday I flew down to Nevada for the convention.
I could go on about the spoiled rich kids in the airplane seats in
front of me, who asked daddy if they were driving the 'cedes to grammy's,
but that's a whole other story (look for the article titled Nolan
Curtis Hates Precocious Rich Kids, Real Soon Now®). I grabbed
a taxi from the airport to the luxurious Comfort Inn Suites on the
edge of town (making sure to tip the driver well, but not above the
recommended Employee Handbook guidelines), and from there to the
This was my first trip to Las Vegas, so I could go on about the
$5.99 prime rib, and the tourists that dress like idiots, but this
article is about the convention (and I was wearing a "Wrath
of Khan" T-shirt at the time).
The layout of the convention allowed for people from the casino/hotel
to wade through the tables. These non-technical guests were easy
to spot since they didn't have lime-green name-tags stating what
company they worked for, and they always asked questions like "So,
what's this gadget do?" and "Can this get the web on it?" I
also suspect that if you wear a cowboy hat, you might have to sign
some kind of contract promising to refer to everything with buttons
as a "gadget."
My story revolves around a casual conversation I got caught up in
with an older couple visiting from some state I'd never heard of.
Much like when I visit Best Buy and people assume I work there, this
couple had assumed that I had intimate knowledge with a 128-bit security
fob that synchronizes with a remote server every minute using a complex
mathematical algorithm (they assumed correctly, but this is beside
the point). They were amiable enough, and I might have liked them
if they didn't indirectly insult me and cause me to loathe everything
about them within the span of our short conversation.
I don't know how we got on the conversation of reality television,
because if I anticipated it, I might have feigned a grand mal seizure
or tried to poke out the tourists eyes with a nearby wireless keyboard.
They were so wrapped up in talk of The Bachelor and American Idol
and When Lawn Tractors Attack, that I didn't even need to be in the
conversation. The entirety of their evenings --even here on vacation
in Las Vegas-- centered on the television. In hopes of derailing
the conversation, I mentioned that I don't watch much TV anymore.
Hilda and Wallace (or whatever their names were) acted as though
I had physically struck them (and the thought to do so had crossed
my mind several times). They couldn't fathom that I'd never seen
The Amazing Race or Fear Factor. "How do you spend your time?" Hilda
asked me, clearly nearing the edge of an aneurysm.
"I surf the web, chat with friends, play online games." I
said, trying to use simple terms.
Wallace interrupted, "Oh we have a nephew that does the web.
As soon as he gets home from school, the first thing he does is log
on to that damn thing. Spends all day in his room on that computer." It
was clear that Wallace in no way approved of such behavior, and if
this nephew were his son, I imagine he'd have welts from the whoopin'
"Oh, it's pathetic" Hilda added, not realizing that she
had just indirectly insulted me.
I can see where it might seem a little sad that any of us spend
that much time in front of a computer, but hearing it from these
slaves to television was like 10,000 spoons when all I need is a
knife (or any sharp stabbing instrument). It's not like they're watching
Discovery, Animal Planet, or the Spice channel... anything notably
worthwhile. They're turning off their brains to watch hive-mind programming
that would insult most people. I suppose I could feel sorry for them,
but I'm far too full of hate to attempt that.
Instead I asked them if they'd checked out the American Idol online voting
web page. Being the helpful pathetic geek that I am, I even wrote the address
down for them: www.goatse.cx
I'm hope their nephew appreciates what I've done for him.
*Wade's name has been changed from Martin to protect the innocent.
**Melissa's name is really Melissa. She's not so innocent. Melissa, if you're
reading this, I'm on to you.
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