Vulnerability and the Internet/The World Flashes by

A Vacation Tangent & Superior to Show Lo, Arizona

Last year we both read TC Boyle’s novel, Talk, Talk, about the anxieties of living in the information age, consumerism and identity theft. It is both humorous and horrifying. The technological world and our ability to transact instantly and put our lives on autoppay on a see saw with cyber predators.

Flash forward to a quiet morning in the Copper Mine Motel. We turn on our devices. I check my e-mail and discover about $250 of unauthorized charges in euros from Skype to my Paypal account. We don’t seem to have strong cell phone service here, so I call Paypal on Skype to see what I can figure out or put a halt to.  I’m feeling on edge, vulnerable, ambivalent, especially since just before we left, I discovered two mystery charges on a credit card. As two different helpful Paypal account experts explain the options and send out a report to Skype, we’re disconnected. Skype has blocked the account.  In fact, trying to see the macro in all , or most, experiences, I’ve just asked the woman at Paypal  if this is happening a lot. She says, “yes, they are seeing more cases of this,” and the call is cut off.

Never-the less, it clear, windy, a little cool, maybe 60 degrees and time to pack the bike and get on the road. Before leaving town, we visit an arboretum, study plants and walk some trails. Spencer wants to take my picture with his iPad and when he steps of the trail he ends up snagging himself on a prickly pear cactus. The spines hurt and he stops to try to pull them out. (Note: we are wearing long underwear because it cold on the motorcycle).

We take off Northeast and North, 110 miles, to Globe and on to Show Low. The scenery is awesome; the wind harsh. We stop at a Walmart to look for white gas for the camping stove. The place feels like chaos. It revs up my ambivalence, prods me to ponder the ideals, so many of us have, of getting off the grid vs. the shadowy reality of our consumerism and the economic web.

We also need filters for the Melitta coffee cone. “They’re not by the coffee,” a man about my height, 5′ 2″, with curly hair and a smile, explains, “They’re by the coffee makers.” He continues, “It doesn’t really make sense,”but I know exactly where to find them, because it feels like I live here.” “How many hours do you work?” I ask. “About 60.” He replies and tells me, as I throw questions out, that he pays about 70% of his health care coverage. Walmart covers 30%. He gets ok pay, but “you shouldn’t go on salary at Walmart, better to work by the hour.” He grows quiet, as we pass a woman with an assistant manager tag on her shirt, but hints after we pass her, that if you are on a salary, you’ll be overworked.

On the cycle again. The world flashes by. Lift up the visor so can feel the wind, until it gets too strong. Air feels dry and clean.

I notice the variations in rock formations, mountains, canyons. vegetation, see a few horses, signs saying “Watch for falling rocks,” “Entering Apache Reservation,” “entering Navajo country,”  “Elevation 5,000 ft.” I stare at Spencer’s back,watch his hair flutter. By the time we reach Show Low, we’re in the pine forest and see patches of snow. The elevation is 6412 feet. The air is clear, crisp and cooling. We’re eager to use the borrowed tent and camp stove, but decide we’ll wait a night and for a warmer opportunity. We drive down Deuce of Clubs Street, in a town named after a legendary card name, and find a quiet non-chain motel. Stop # 4.

Want to join us for a minute? Here is a quickly edited moving glimpse of life on the backseat of a Triumph.

~ by coldwetnormal on March 5, 2012.

2 Responses to “Vulnerability and the Internet/The World Flashes by”

  1. We enjoyed the ride – will you visit Flagstaff ?

    • Did it make you want to hop on? What would our mother say? (Maybe i don’t want to think about it) Flagstaff is a little cool for this time of year….

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: