Are You Listening?

Remember Hal’s computer voice in Space Odyssey 2001? I heard it last week in Costco. It came over the intercom, smooth and velvety, a man’s voice saying something like, “Please remember to social distance, leaving six feet between you and other shoppers.” This was not your crackly supermarket voice, “Brenda, we need a price check on Aisle Six.” This was clear and professional. I swear it was Hal. If the voice had been a color, it would have been the color of cocoa, warm and soothing and reassuring. All is well. Carry on. Continue shopping.

The intention of that voice recording was meant to calm us, I know, but it felt alarming to me. My anxiety level went up a notch as I glanced around to see if anyone was showing signs of panic. Nope, all were continuing to shop.

Sounds and silence. It has been an unusually quiet few weeks for me as my internet connection recently died and my internet provider not-so-much dream team tried for a week to resurrect it. The first 3-4 people I talked to had kind and reassuring voices.

“Oh yes, let’s get that computer up and running for you.” These people understood I was locked down and that the computer was my link to much of the world. I was in good hands. Everything would be OK.

Everything was not OK, and after literally hours on my old landline with those kindly voices, they handed me over to people whose language I could not understand and whose voices were not so kindly and reassuring. I seriously began to believe that they were trying to get rid of me.

“Keep pushing and let’s see when she’ll break and cancel our service! She’s old and we need to cut her loose!”

But Spring still blossoms and computers are brought back to life. Bird songs are everywhere, perhaps louder with less background noise of air and auto traffic?

Toshiba Digital Camera

Chinese dogwood was at its showiest in its 40-year-old life this year.

The first thing I did when my computer was working was to email my yard helper who is deaf to see when he would be working again. I missed him this spring–his grin, his hard work, and his enthusiasm for my wild yard schemes. Even his silence.

Sometimes it’s hard to hear that still, small voice within us. It doesn’t come over a loudspeaker or intercom.

Carry on. One day at a time. All will be well.

2 thoughts on “Are You Listening?

  1. It is also frightening to see how dependent we are on our PC’s… That’s where Hal lives you know?! Remember telephones and letter writing with nice penmanship and no spelling check? I’ve been in hospital since Friday nite… Boy Harrison Bremerton Looneyville nothing works is scary

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