Mmmm hmmm internet.
I smell it on the horizon… wafting over from afar in scented waves. Slightly coastal, faintly deep-fried, with a dash of burning rope and a hint of recent thunderstorms. It’s vacation in Florida, and the smell is just the precursor to the faint strains of fiddle music, slow drawl and electric guitar that’ll begin to wend their way around my head as we fly 40,000ft over Birmingham and begin our final descent.
Monday when I got back to work after a week overseas, I went downstairs to the Starbucks for my morning coffee and was ecstatic to see they are already brewing Christmas Blend. Man I love me some Starbucks Christmas Blend. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that, at work, the Starbucks is free… at least for the brewed, non-fancy, stuff; but I’m down there before 8am for the first mug and back around 3pm for an afternoon refresh (not “refresh” in the sense that it takes me from 8am to 3pm to drink my morning’s cup… however). Sometimes I think about how good I have it at work… that place, despite being my prison, is aaaallll-right sometimes.
A good buddy of mine recently uprooted his family and moved to Taiwan. Unwilling, however, to give up American TV (presumably because it’s just so good) he instead bought a neat little modern-age wonder-device called a Slingbox that allows him to transmit a TV feed from anywhere in the world to anywhere else in the world. So long as you’ve got TV service wherever the Slingbox lives, you’ve got that same TV service wherever you may roam. In this case, the Slingbox was installed at our place. It’s in the closet, it has a dedicated HD DVR receiver and my buddy graciously supplements my cable bill to cover the costs (as well as sponsoring me to the highest speed boadband package to assure the bandwidth required for high-definition streaming is available).
When the Slingbox is active, meaning my buddy and/or his wife are halfway across the world watching TV from the receiver in our closet, there’s a little upside-down U-shaped series of LEDs that pulses, chasing one another from end to end. Sometimes, early morning here, I’ll walk by the open closet while it’s still dark and I’ll be able to see that light pulsing on the shelf, casting a flickering red light a small ways out into the hallway. Every once in a while it pulls me in and I’ll stand there watching the thing pulse for a few seconds, knowing. Watching the LEDs snake their way around that U-shape sometimes feels like second-degree voyeurism or something. Somewhere, thousands of miles away, someone is watching TV that’s originating from my closet. At that exact moment.
I know you’re watching… you can’t hide.