Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Mantenna and the Fall of Western Civilization

Someone in my class sent me an email with the subject line, "My Brain Hurts From Studying." If it's possible to imagine, my brain hurt too much to open and read the email. I haven't been updating my blog...or, uh, showering for that matter. I'm knee-deep in study-mode: GREs, Personal Statements, formal applications and deciding which manuscript to send to my list of chosen universities. I've narrowed it down to about eleven schools from my eighteen original darlings.

Since I'm no longer a twenty-year old college student, with a racy red motorcycle and a Mountain Dew addiction, study breaks are lame. I've read (and written) one too many Public Service Announcement ads to smoke cigarettes, and I don't have the metabolism for beer. My old college roommate is doing perfunctory married people things, 2500 miles and two time zones away. We can't run over to Doc's Pad to flirt ourselves into oblivion.

Bored, somewhat depressed, and unshowered, I checked my messages. Or, message, singular. Plus the twelve I think I might need someday to remind me of how popular I used to be two weeks ago. Sprint automatically deletes them after a month. It's like they're saying Get Over It, Lady, but with the manners of an "Oops! I did it again!" technological hiccup. My incoming message? The Pharmacist. And "he" was automated. He says my name, pronounced hard, like it's taking every nano-chip of his energy to push out: "Ju-Ain-Nell AT-Toe-LEE-nee!"

It's official. I've. Hit. A. New. Low.

I decide, since the Pharmacist went to all that trouble to call, least I can do is pay him a visit. I also want to see if I can pick up the latest Sun Magazine. It's my favorite magazine, and it seems like hardly anyone knows about it. I discovered The Sun while an obsequious new writer in New York City.

When I got to the pharmacy, the automated man is actually a very friendly Asian woman with palm trees painted on her acrylic nails. I know that the drugstore doesn't carry The Sun, but I look for it anyway. I feel the same level of surprise and disappointment everytime, when it's not there.

A guy with a Mantenna passes, then stops beside me and grabs a magazine. He asks me which magazine I am in. Seriously. What is a girl supposed to say to something that creepy? And how great would the look on his face have been if I would have handed him a Playboy?

Fortunately, because he was wearing The Mantenna, I had an out. "I'm sorry?" I said. I pointed to his ear. "I thought you were on the phone." He fiddled with his earpiece, and my eyes refocused with the gravitational pull of the headline BRAD WALKS OUT, ANGELINA BLAMES JEN! (Trust me, this stuff actually starts to make sense after spending hours writing...)

Later that night, I ask my roommate about the evolution of The Mantenna. When did this happen? I thought guys didn't like talking on the phone. Most of them are self-described masters of the five-minute, dictated converstaion. Now, they're ruining the foundation of generations before by prancing around with phones ATTACHED to their ears.

Is this Escape of the Killer Telemarketers, or is the Shopping Channel having a sale on hyperactive man accessories? I thought men, and the geriatric population, were the reason Operators asked us to stay on the line if we have rotary dial. Because telephones are complicated and mysterious. I personally could never understand how some men could be mesmerized by 42inch HDTVs, reassemble computers, and pirate their neighbors cable, but "just weren't phone people." Now, those same men are going on dates with fat, blinking spaceships hanging off their ears and ringtones blaring "I'm Bringing Sexy Back!" by Justin Timberlake. I don't know if they sleep with their Mantennas, but it's safe to say we've got a national crisis on our hands. Not since the Fanny Pack, which in its worst stages became the Manny Pack, have I seen such a fashion debacle.

The next day I got a speeding ticket. I was rushing to the doctor. I had a bad experience giving myself a shot. I must have hit a vein or nerve because it hurt like hell. Renee was getting her climbing gear together, and after I screamed, gave me some medical explanation in a very monotone voice. That girl is solid. The house could be on fire, and Renee would come home, look at the damage, and say, "That's cool. I was going to donate that stuff to Goodwill anyway."

I was determined to shoot the other side, but was completely freaked out. It still hurt where I stuck the needle. Renee brought me Mac and Cheese, and we were watching The Girls Next Door, pretending like I could give myself the shot...any second. Renee finally recapped the needle, and I called the doctor to give me the shot.

When I got pulled over, I made no excuses, didn't cry. The cop told me to go 50 MPH. (uh, Really though? 50?) After he handed me a pink slip, I punched it Chuie, and hit the turbo to get back in the freeway flow. The cop was still trailing me. I looked down and realized I was going about 70.

He came up beside me. I thought he was trying to tell me something. I actually thought I'd get pulled over again and get a second speeding ticket in five minutes. A record for me. I wasn't nervous, maybe because he looked like a Doogie Houser, M.D dress up version of a cop. Or those security guard dudes at the mall who are like B Team knock off cops. I slowed down and mouthed "I'm sorry."

But he wasn't trying to communicate with me. He didn't even look my way as he zoomed off. He was too busy talking and laughing into his Mantenna to notice.


biggearhead said...

"Since I'm no longer a twenty-year old college student, with a racy red motorcycle and a Mountain Dew addiction..."

I love this paragraph. Thanks for the blog updates! Best of luck studying.
Oh, and while I may have a half-decent collection of Craftsman tools, I don't own a Mantenna. Hell, my cell phone doesn't even have a camera on it!

jaynel said...

Hang on to your phone! You can show it off in twenty years. I personally consider my family's top-loader VCR my favorite heirloom.

Anonymous said...

I have a top-loader Laserdisc player. That is up there with my 1936 Singer electric sewing machine.

Weekend before this last one, I saw more women with mantennas than men. About 3 to 2, I think. I have two myself, one lost in a box, one plugged into the charger. I put it in when I'm going to make or receive a call, and take it out when I'm done.

Oh, and for a new meaning for mantenna, check out this Questionable Content comic.

See you Thursday at Peets.

jaynel said...

actually in my story there's a sewing machine of the 1930's era, so I might have to interview you, or you can man-fact, whatevers easier. It's all about the word count at this point.

Speaking of which, I'm at 23,508...and a new breed of insomniac. Have you hit 25K?

Good to hear ladiez are speaking some Mantenese, however, I still maintain it looks hella weird to see a full grown man in a suit and tie talking to himself with a flashing blue earring heavy on one side...thaz just me, though.

Maybe see you Saturday at Brickhouse...how funny, last year I had a heArtwork show
there! : )