The Tech God came over last night to change the battery in my iPod and I am eternally grateful, because for every four hours of charge time, it gave me 2 1/2 hours of play and who can read books like that? So, after he's finished his dinner, he gets out the tools and starts taking it apart and it was at this time that I realized just how much this iPod has come to mean to me. It is not merely a tool for reading, a technological doodad, it is my baby and I love it with a fierce, unholy passion (am I the only person who thinks that Steve Jobs may be in league with the devil, what with the degree of devotion his products inspire?). It did not matter that it was Ken, a man I trust completely, who was applying screwdrivers to the wee silver body, removing the innards. No, despite it being Ken, the room started spinning a little for me and the anxiety levels went through the roof. So I did what I do when I'm anxious in a situation in which I have little control and attempted to regain some control by knowing exactly what was happening. It went something like this:
"What are you doing now? What's that? A spudger? Oh, that's such a cute name! What's it do? Why are you poking it in there? Is that the battery? The hard drive is so tiny! Why do you say 'well, now' in that tone of voice? Is something wrong? Is my baby okay? Is that screwdriver magnetized? Will the magnet hurt the tiny little hard drive? No, that's floppy disks, isn't it? Are you sure that's okay? Why is your right eye twitching?"
And it was that at this point that Ken in the kindest possible way reminded me that I want him to continue doing things like this for me, which I took to be a very diplomatic way of saying "Shut! Up!", so I did and it was one of the hardest things I've had to do in a while, as literally biting your tongue to keep from releasing a constant monologue of questions turns out to be a bit of a challenge for me.
And speaking of challenges, I need to talk about trivia. More specifically, Willowtree’s trivia contest. Which I won in November and exhibited behaviour that can only be called decidedly ungracious, further opening the floodgates of my competitive instincts. I won again in December and it was at this point that Carrie, who seems to share my love of trivia, as well as an equally unhealthy competitive urge, challenged me. In the conversation in which this challenge was issued, one of us used the phrase "let's make it interesting" and what had been that a friendly little game (oh, sure), became something more. Because we started with a bet that if she won, she'd get a photograph of her choice and if I won she'd knit me a pair of socks and I'm not sure exactly what happened, but the bet escalated to include a grovelling blog post, pronouncing oneself worthless and the other person the Empress of trivia. This month hasn't been pretty, at least on my end, because those competitive urges that I normally keep firmly tamped down, bloomed as if they were on steroids and my life has not been my own. So I decided that this would be my last month of playing. That I would stop playing, at least for while. Not just because winning decidedly, wiping the floor with my opponents (I try to be a gracious winner, I really do, but it is beyond me) three months in a row is enough, but because this level of competition is bad for me - not just physically, as I played even when I couldn't move my right arm, but psychically, vastly impeding my goal to be rid of desire and attachment.
And then I won (HA! Oops, sorry…). Carrie posted a brilliantly grovelling post and I was satisfied, it was enough. And then she ruined everything by that last line and now I'm not sure I can stick to my vow of staying away from Willowtree's trivia contest.
Self-control? What's that?