Weakened by a week of weirdness
I spent time catching up with the news this week. At the end of a hard working day in the workshop I collapsed on the couch in front of the television, turned on the laptop and pushed on my cellphone. "Bring it on," I said to my modern world devices.
My sister sent me a text. "Both of us in by a whisker.." it cryptically said. I assumed she'd sent the message to the wrong person. "?" I texted back.
"Retirement age" was all that came back from my big sis. Ah, the penny dropped. At 45 I'm right on the cusp, the pointy end, of brighter future retirement age changes. "We get to retire? Don't believe it" I texted back.
I put down the phone and turned my attention to the laptop. I read an article on how lazy Millennials are. I read an article on how entitled Baby Boomers are. I read a headline. I looked at a photo. I was outraged. I was engaged.
I grabbed the television remote. A bachelor house that was soon to be Married At First Sight was being made to look 10 years younger once it cooked a diner using five mystery ingredients that would help it lose five pounds. Or something. There were wall-to-wall judges on every channel as the burning rubber sound of reality TV invaded the room, demanding my attention. Mike Hosking fiddled with his cufflinks.
I watched footage of schoolgirls marching on parliament calling for changes to address rape culture and gender violence. "We've heard your voices, we see you, we hear you" said deputy PM, Minister for Women and "most days" feminist Paula Bennett.
I checked my phone for the date, just to be sure. Yep, 2017.
I read a column from Joe Bennett: "If I worked here no doubt I would get used to the ramblings of the demented, but I come from the common world of the uninjured and bring with me assumptions of meaning and coherence, of words importing something." Joe was talking about his mothers' nursing home. I'm pretty sure he's not related to Paula, but don't quote me on that.
I waded into the river of American political news that floods my Facebook and Twitter feeds. I wondered when it would be swimmable again. An uncle texted a comment from the Washington Post – "Trump puts the same level of intellectual effort into tweeting as he does farting."
"A fart a day keeps the media at bay" I text back.
Back on the widescreen TV our own MP's face magically appeared, talking about water. Nick Smith said stopping water being shipped off overseas in bottles was something like solving road congestion by banning tricycles. Who knew?
I thought about what John Key used to say about "explaining is losing" and "perception is reality" and all, but then I remembered the "he's one academic and like lawyers I can provide you with another one that will give you a counterview" line of reasoning that somehow stuck, so, yeah.
I read an opinion piece that seemed to say banks will lend big money to buy meth contaminated houses for first home buyers, that is, when they aren't too busy watching Sky TV or eating smashed avocado on toast, or sitting at their local cafe sipping liquid Columbian coffee beans. Perhaps I should read it again, but who has time?
I watched footage of a BBC expert as he blindly pushed his hand into the face of a small child who had marched into a room where said expert was conducting an important interview via Skype. I watched as another child, this time in a baby walker, also busted on into the room. I also watched as a child minder the children's mother slid into the room to remove said children from situation.
I laughed and passed judgement. I watched again, laughed harder and passed further judgement.
I saw another video. The expert is married to the child minder and the kids look happy and much loved by their parents. Not that I was jumping to any rash conclusions.
On Twitter I liked a post and retweeted it. I didn't read it.
I followed a random TV show just to mess with my head when I check on who I follow, three years from now.
I read about aspirational greenhouse gas emission targets by 2030 and retirement age changes and rivers being 90 per cent swimmable by 2040, not to mention being pest and predator free by 2050. With this much kicking for touch by present-day governments the world will be politician free by 2060.
On Facebook I loved a fake news story that was pushing an agenda. Then I loved another fake news story that was pushing the opposite agenda, just to mess with the algorithms.
I liked a political party I detest just to appease the HR team who will in future decide if I'm fit to employ.
I answered texts. I changed TV channels. I tweeted. I downloaded photos on Facebook. I replied to comments.
A thin layer of technology and news did envelope me like plastic film does envelop the kids' school sandwiches. I was turning blue in the face.
Luckily my wife was around to puncture that layer of plastic with a fork so I could breath again. "Put the rubbish bags out will you? It's rubbish day tomorrow," she yelled from the kitchen, saving my life yet again.