Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Everyday Divinities Project - The Desktop and Laptop Computers

The Desktop and Laptop Computers - by R. B. LeMoyne
© September 1, 2010 *

“It’s about time you got here, old friend! Let me guess, another MMO?”

Holland Parcell, dressed in his usual divine business attire, heaved a sigh and joined his counterpart at the outdoor café table . “Of course,” he replied. “You’d be surprised how many people let themselves get absorbed into those time sinks, Dall. They look like good fun, but one hour becomes five, and the mortals could care less that they haven’t eaten or showered or even stepped outside. Not that I mind – more business for me if they’re using my domain instead of, say, playing sports – but I’m constantly amazed by the mortal capacity to ignore all other concerns when it comes to playing a simple computer game.” He smiled half-heartedly, adding, “Many apologies for my tardiness.”

“Bah, think nothing of it,” Dall countered, waving his hand in the air to dismiss the apology. “Believe me, enough mortals use my domain for online gaming, so I can sympathize. I swear, it’s amazing how much time a mortal will sink into a game that has no tangible reward or gain. As if they were actually making money at it!”

Holland raised a finger. “Ah, but it is entertaining. Sometimes there doesn’t need to be a concrete gain, only a good time.”

Dall rolled his eyes and muttered something about mortals and the other good time they search for online. “Anyway, can I get you a cup o’ joe?”

“Ugh, no, thank you,” Holland answered, face twisting in disgust. “I’ve had enough of Java for the time being. I’ll take a green tea, if you’d please.”

“Suit yourself.” With a slow wave of his hand, Dall conjured up two mugs, one filled with coffee, the other brimming with tea. “Me? I’ve been craving coffee all day. I blame that damnable college kid earlier today. I thought he’d be taking up residence in a coffee shop to write that paper, but he went to that accursed Penara place.”

Holland inhaled his fragrant cup of tea as he cocked an eyebrow at Dall. “Penara? I don’t believe I’ve been there.”

Dall shook his head. “No, you wouldn’t have, and truth be told, you’re better off for it. I hate – HATE – having to go there, and wouldn’t you know that every laptop owner with an inflated opinion of themselves just loves to take me to Penara,” he drawls, the last few words drawn out with a heavy dose of sarcasm.

“I take it there’s more to this loathing than meets the eye?”

“Okay, it’s like this,” Dall began, ignoring his steaming mug of coffee. “You know how coffeehouses used to be the place to go to sit down with a laptop, have some coffee, and check your email or write a school paper or whatever?”

Holland nodded, replying, “Of course. Has that changed?”

“Oh, plenty of people still take their laptop to a coffee shop, sure. That’s fine. But Penara…” Dall frowned, struggling for just the right words. “Let’s put it this way. If you were a snob who liked to pay far too much for far too little food, and you wanted to check your email in the most elite and trendy way possible, you’d go to Penara.”

“I don’t understand. The food is overpriced, so you don’t like mortals taking you there?”

“It’s not necessarily the food. Okay, it’s not just the food. No, it’s the type of people the place attracts. They’re the same stuck-up, prissy rejects that the mortals who created our domain back in the day loathed. Now they’re using me as some sort of elite status symbol, checking their social networks in an eatery that isn’t even all that good, and doing web chats right there at the tables. Web chats!” Dall shouted. “In Penara! It’s disgusting!”

“You know that the mortals you call ‘rejects’ are the very same mortals who give you power through their devotion to your domain, yes?” Dall scowled at Holland, who sat there smugly sipping his tea, before finally taking a drink of his coffee mug. His silent retort sent Holland chuckling. “All the same, I do believe you need to come to terms with the evolution of mortal gathering holes. Before our time, it was the tavern. Now that we’re leading the mortal information age, it’s all about who can best supply our needs, regardless of the environment’s image, yes?”

“Well, something better than Penara needs to come along, and quick, before I stage a protest,” Dall grumbled into his mug. “It’d serve those stuck-up mortals right if all their precious laptops blinked out all at once, right in the middle of their all-important and totally inane web chats.”

Holland laughed, sipped his tea, then rose from his chair. “Well, as entertaining as it is to listen to your rants and would-be plots to rebel against your sacred duties, I really should get back to work.”

“What? You just got here, and you’re already headed back? Honestly, H.P., the online gamers can do without you for another few moments!”

“Ah, but the gamers are only a minority of the mortals I serve,” Holland countered with a sigh. “The others who use my domain for business and other noble pursuits are why I must depart. As ever, it was a pleasure to see you, dear friend.”

Dall nodded, a smile sneaking across his lips. “Yeah, same here. Don’t be a stranger, now. Your domain may be stationary, but it’s good for you to get out now and then, you know?”

“But of course.” Holland bowed, smiling warmly and, in a brilliant bolt of light, returned to his domain in the Bureau of Computational Processing.


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