I’m reading Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart. It’s called absurdist, a satirical romance, and “too funny for his own good.” So far, though, I’m just finding it freaky.
It’s futuristic, but just barely, and I think that’s the unsettling part. His descriptions of the world include:
- technology: everyone wears a device that can instantly scan and be scanned by others, revealing your income, personality rating, hotness level, etc; and books are called “printed, bound media artifacts” (or “doorstops” in slang);
- clothing: one of the hot new clothing items is a brand of jeans called “Onionskin” – they’re totally transparent; and
- relationships: “Hey baby, let’s FAC” means “Let’s Form A Community” – basically, let’s have a conversation.
I like the story, and I am finding it entertaining and amusing, but at the same time it’s just too possible. It’s not hovercars and reading minds and people going into space…it’s the decline of the dollar, the increasingly “Big Brother” nature of the government, and the further dependency on gadgets and technology.
It’s a really appropriate book to be reading on this, Day 1 of my new life as a smartphone user. It’s been difficult to put the thing down today – although I definitely had work to get done – and since I got home Drew’s been playing on it. We may quickly become a 2-smartphone family. And isn’t it time? I mean, it’s 2011. Shouldn’t we get with the program?
Not to sound totally bi-polar, but it’s exactly that type of thinking – get with the program – that freaks me out even more. The world is changing so fast, and the rate at which it changes is picking up. (Pair that with the uneasy feeling I have about all these natural disasters that have been happening…and I am one paranoid girl.)
When I was in middle school, all I wanted in the world was my very own landline. I finally got it, and was the happiest girl alive.
In fact, at one point in my early teens, my parents were redoing the floors in all the house except the bedrooms – so they had to move everything into those rooms. I somehow ended up with the TV and the VCR in my room. I remember spending one delightful evening sitting in my own bedroom, door closed, on my dial up internet (my personal landline), talking on the phone (the family’s landline), and watching movies.
Is there anything sweeter?
And yet…here I sit, wireless laptop on my knees, cell phone near by, all the channels I could possibly desire on the cable and movies galore available for streaming from Netflix, via my lightning fast internet. I can have this any time I want! But how could I have foreseen this? Or maybe I just didn’t care enough at the time to project what type of technology would be available to me in the future.
(How tangent-ful has this gotten? I’ve been going on long enough for Drew to get to the second world in Angry Birds.)
Sometimes I just want to stretch out on the couch in the silence, and read a good old-fashioned paperback. Not Super Sad True Love Story. Maybe some nice 1980s Stephen King.