Surely I’ve shared my feeling with you — explicitly or implicitly, hm? — that we live in a dystopia. Remember that old cartoon, “Life in Hell”? Well, yeah. It’s a lot like that. Only not so harmlessly absurd.
Today, a fine Day from Hell, presented a superb view of the Canyons of Dystopia. What a place! What a time!
My laptop computer — an aging MacBook, a creature that has made itself integral to my daily life, to my entertainment, and (most to the point) to my business activities — has about given up the digital ghost. It’s taken to shutting down <<~PING~>> out of the blue, sometimes losing data, sometimes not. This is happening more and more often. Uncountable numbers of hours with the telephone Apple techs (starting at 6 in the morning; extending till 10 at night) have done nothing to fix the problem.
In defeat, the Apple techs and I agreed that we were forced to present the damn thing to the Apple geniuses in a brick-and-mortar Apple store.
Naturally, Apple closed the store nearest to me. So I had to schlep the contraption out to Scottsdale.
I’d been at the new, annoying, echoey, brain-banging Apple glass-and-metal box lately installed at Scottsdale Fashion Square. So…yeah. I decided to take a chance that the slightly less-new Apple store at Scottsdale Quarter would be less…annoying.
Make an appointment: 2:45 p.m.. Start driving driving driving about 2:00 p.m. Get there pretty much on time. Park in the Scottsdale Quarter’s parking garage: B-1W. Pull out my crip-space placard so I can grab a space within walking distance of an elevator or stairs, leave the chariot not very far from a pair of elevators, and make my way toward air. Trudge upstairs past innumerable trendy restaurants and trendy fashion stores and trendy home stores and finally find my way, with difficulty, to the Apple store.
Yes. Glass-and-metal box.
This shopping center is simply dreadful, in an upscale dreadful way. Cold. Hard-edged. Stylish. Ritzy. Loud to the point of blaring. And fucking annoying.
It is, in short, a little shard of dystopia. A freestanding monument to dystopia.
I finally find the Apple store in its maze, after asking at two shops. Get there on time.
Over the blaring background noise and the echo-chamber interior noise, the Apple employees and techs are extremely nice. One of them, a manager, tells me they’re a little confused because one of his employees had been carted off to an ER, about half an hour earlier, with chest pains.
A short stay in the cacophony suggests why. If you had to spend your days in that racket trying to tend to unhappy customers or peddle Apple’s wares to idle lookers, you, too, would have cardiac symptoms.
Shortly, the lone tech behind the Genius Bar decides the MacBook needs to be sent away to TechLand, therein to be evaluated and, with any luck, fixed. This is OK, sort of, because I still have the old iMac to work on. Not that sitting in front of a desk on a hard chair for hour on hour on hour is a good thing. It leaves me with every joint in my body hurting. But at least I’ll be able to make a little progress on the assignments at hand.
Now I leave the Apple store and make my way, with some annoyance, through the complicated maze that is Scottsdale Quarter. Get on the elevator and go down to level B1 West, where my car was parked. In a disabled parking space a few steps from said elevator.
Or was it?
I search all over and cannot find the Venza. Set off the key fob’s panic button: nothing.
Back on the elevator: down to level B2 west.
Same story: no fuckin’ sign of my car! I search and search but cannot find the car.
Now I figure I need to call a cop or security guard to help out. Cop? Not so much: the cell phone is in the missing car.
I go back upstairs and enter a couple of business establishments, asking if they can call up a security guard. The flunkies there haven’t a clue!
Go back downstairs and search again. Not a chance.
Back up to the main level. Find an employee: can you call a security guard or cop to help me look for my car? He hasn’t a clue. He points me to another guy. That guy pretends he doesn’t speak English, fuckyouverymuch.
Now I’m beginning to panic, because I do NOT know what I’m going to do. Has my car been stolen? Seems unlikely. But I know I parked it under a sign that said B1 West. And it ain’t there.
Finally I ascend once more to the ground level, walk around the vast building, and enter through the driveway (“no pedestrians”), and start walking. I find Level B1 East. Keep walking the maze. Eventually I arrive at a sign saying “Level B1 West,” but don’t see my car. I start walking further down into the depths of Hell when out of the corner of my eye I spot the damned Venza: on the other side of the elevators from where I was searching. Not before, we might add, quite the little panic attack.
Never been so happy to drive away from a place in my life.
I made my escape through the west side of Kierland Commons, past block on block of excruciatingly pricey Soviet-style, perfectly ghastly-looking block apartments. Horrible-looking, dreary, barren, depressing places. Very expensive horrible, ghastly-looking, dreary, barren, depressing places.
You know… I think of myself of fairly ritzy-titsy. North Central Phoenix, where I’ve dwelt since 19-and-aught-67, is what would be called, in a venue such as San Francisco, “Old Money.” And let’s face it: despite my protestations of penury here at the ironically titled Funny about Money, I am, yes, damn near rich as Croesus.
But as for the amazingly, hideously dystopic environs of Scottsdale’s astonishingly ugly Kierland Commons district? I am SO FAR out of my league in that place! Dear God. I hear Yarnell a-callin’….
It’s so harshly dystopic that it actually makes dreary, dumpy Sun City look good. It certainly makes Prescott look very fine, indeed.
Lemme tellya: if I were a young woman today, you couldn’t pay me — not in the currencies of love nor money — to bring a child into this land of ours. To bring an infant into the godawful world we live in today would be a form of child abuse. It should be actionable.
Image: By Cygnusloop99 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7863726