Wednesday, September 22, 2004

This Virtual Life

I've been sitting in a virtual waiting room for the past two hours; waiting the opportunity to spend many, many dollars on playoff baseball tickets. We've come a long way over the past 100 or so years - instead of sitting in a waiting room on standing in an endless line, we sit in virtual waiting rooms.

Sure, I can sit at my desk here in the office, whiling away my time while working; hoping that at some point, I'll move to the front of the queue, but there's no end in sight. In fact there's nothing in sight but the same message, asking me to wait patiently.

And really, I find this kind of depressing. There's no '80s issues of Time to while the hours away; nor can I partake of one of my favorite waiting-room activities: people watching.

When waiting for the doctor, I can peek over the top of my magazine article about the SALT treaty or how the kids today are spending lots of time and money in these "video game arcades" and playing games like "Pac Man" or "Asteroids", and spy on my fellow patients (and usually comparing illnesses - man, at least I'm better off than than guy).

But not here. No virtual magazines; no virtual patients; no virtual line attendees with whom to commisserate about the slow service.

Sure, I could actually do some work while I'm waiting, but I'm too busy wallowing in my virtual loneliness.

I thought computers and the Information Age were supposed to bring us together, so why are the Cardinals holding us apart? And more importantly, why are we standing (or really, sitting) for this?

We should be together, griping about the long waits, talking baseball and feeling the solidarity of the line.

But no - instead I'm staring at the same countdown, endlessly ticking the seconds away only to refresh every 30 or so seconds, possibly moving me closer to some vague promise of baseball fulfillment off in the dim future.

I'd be depressed if the alternative wasn't actually doing work.

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