I ooze love

Take love where you find it.

I ooze love. It crawls out of my pores and slimes its way across the parched landscape of humanity. You send me a broken computer, Gazelle? I ooze love.

You give me the same eight bars of hold music on a repeating loop? I ooze love.

Same hold music the first time I call, to ask what’s wrong with the iMac I sent to you perfect that you’re now saying doesn’t work.

Same hold music the second time I call, to ask why the Mac returned to us damaged, with the keyboard and mouse loose in the box, where they scratched up the screen and the metal, without the power cord and installation disks that Dave packed so carefully.

Same hold music the third time, after we’ve discovered not only is the iMac scratched up and cordless but it’s missing the hard drive and some of the screws that used to hold on the screen. Love, love, love.

This hold music varies in that it restarts after running its full loop, and any time a voice recording interrupts to say, “The next available customer service representative will be with you shortly,” which is often.

The eight bars – or maybe it’s four, I don’t know how to count music – starts with a bright electric guitar lick, sort of reminiscent of “Sister Golden Hair” from the 70s.

Then it goes into a partial buildup to what seems like it’s going to be a verse.

Then it goes into a second, more dramatic buildup, like “This is really going to be an important verse so be ready for it.”

Then there’s a slight pause…

Then the guitar kicks in again.

Does that sound like eight bars? Regardless, I just keep oozing love, because what else can I do?

I can’t undo last week’s idea to sell the old iMac to Gazelle. I can’t go back and video Dave’s reformatting of the hard disk and reinstalling Sierra and doing disk utilities and careful packing of the components using in the fancy box his new iMac arrived in. I’m not even bothering to mention how he hunted down the original installation disks even though it wasn’t required, because of course he did.

Maybe I can put the phone on speaker and make more coffee. I go in the kitchen. “I assume theft,” says Dave.

But I ooze love. I assume that the customer service rep who will be with me shortly will be as surprised as I was about the now-broken computer. Sure, someone there destroyed the iMac, threw it into a box, and sent it back to us, but surely it was an accident. “Maybe it was a new trainee or something, or something happened between shifts.”

“I’m thinking just plain theft.”

“You mean, some rogue guy at the processing center?”

“I mean the whole company,” he says.

I decide Dave is not in a place where I can put the phone on speaker right now. “They’re a huge company,” I remind him, the hold music repeating in my other ear.

“So?”

“A whole company cannot be built on a model of buying used electronics, then claiming they arrived broken and have no value.”

“Sure it can.”

“You can’t believe they would actually do that.”

“I didn’t used to believe someone like Trump could be president,” he said. “Now I figure anything’s possible.”

The hold music kicks in again. I continue to ooze love.

Real and pretend ghosts

Totally.
Totally.

Last night, in the last three minutes of an episode of “Caprica,” where Dad is trying to get robot Zoe to shoot the dog in order to prove she’s not Zoe, Dave shut it off. “I’m done,” he said. He stood up. Then he sat down and set the Roku controller on the coffee table. Then he stood up again.

I stared at the suddenly-black screen. A second ago I’d been watching a border collie cocking his head, all confused, looking from the robot to Dad. Clearly he knew Zoe was inside the robot. He really wanted her to throw the ball so he could fetch it, but instead Dad had given the robot a gun and made her aim it at the border collie.

“I can’t do this,” he said. “I know it’s not real and all that, but it’s just.”

“Of course,” I said, “It’s no big deal.” And we spent the rest of evening reading or talking or something.

I still want to see the last three minutes. I bet the robot misses. If the robot doesn’t miss, I too am done with the show. Why am I done? I don’t know. Because the fake killing of a dog doesn’t seem fair. Why doesn’t it seem fair? Human characters have been killed right and left – the two Tauron guards, everyone on the commuter train. But when you bring a cute, wriggling border collie onto the set and ask us to pretend for him that he is the dog in the story, it’s different than when you bring humans on to the set and they pretend they are Tauron guards or commuters on a train, and all we have to do is decide whether they pretend well enough.

But a border collie is unsurpassed in being a border collie. When it delivers a red ball to the feet of a hunk of metal, I have to do the translation. And when Dad then forces robot Zoe to shoot the dog instead of throwing the ball, and I have to then untranslate that in my head to make it okay, because of course no one’s actually getting shot, I feel foolish. I feel like they misused my good will, my willingness to pretend. I feel silly.

The vibe last night was that we wouldn’t be watching “Caprica” ever again. It’s too bad, because despite lukewarm reviews from “Battlestar” friends I’d been loving the ways it explored how the Cylons came into being and why they were so gosh-darned upset at humans. In fact, this morning, when Dave was downstairs, I opened Netflix on my phone to secretly watch the last three minutes. I figured, if the robot missed, I could subtly work in an argument to keep the show in the queue.

The episode was still in the Continue Watching row, with three minutes left. I hit Play and kept my finger over the Pause icon, in case I heard Dave coming up. I turned the volume way down.

The little circle spun, the screen looked ready to display, but it stayed black. It was like there was a ghost in the machine, keeping me away. I hit Play a few more times, like that would help. I waited, looking from the door to the screen and back again. Dave stayed downstairs. The circle kept spinning and the screen stayed black.

Eventually I gave up and got on with my day.