Malice loved her technology. The soft glow of electronic light often illuminated her face in the living room, the bedroom, the yard, the car, at restaurants, even in the movie theater. In spite of the commercials that insisted patrons show consideration for others by turning off their smart phones during a movie, Malice considered that particular expectation rude and intrusive. Malice’s idea of a perfect evening was sitting in the living room watching TV with a laptop computer in her lap and her smart phone in her hand, and, perhaps, surrounded by family members or friends doing the same thing, as long as they did not bother her too much.
She usually took her computer and phone with her to bed, checking them last thing before going to sleep and first thing when waking up.
In fact, Malice felt naked without her phone, and lost and vulnerable without her computer. If she drove away from the house and suddenly remembered that she left one of them behind, she would turn around and go back to retrieve it.
Once, when asked what she would prefer most if stranded on a desert island – her husband or her laptop with Internet access – she really had to think it through before she could answer. The deciding factor was that her husband could still communicate with her online.
She required Internet access. An accommodation without wireless seemed unworthy of consideration. In dire circumstances, she cruised streets looking for a free access point and try to find the perfect position to get a strong signal. Furthermore, a weak wireless signal anytime anywhere created great concern and frustration.
Social media occupied the center of her existence.
“If it is not posted online, it didn’t really happen” was her effectual motto.
Malice constantly shared what she considered interesting articles, facts, photos, videos, and other tidbits, and she trolled other’s posts, blogs, and activities for hours on end.
She lived for responses, and counted her success and measured her significance by the number of “Likes”, “Comments”, or “Views” recorded.
She engaged in endless rounds of extended electronic dialogue through texts, IM’s, and posted threads. The topics were vast and varied, as were the people and circumstances that occupied her time and energy.
She loved movies and shows. Given the passion she invested, the characters and plots might as well have been real – they were to her. She scheduled her life around the beginning and end of certain programs, often rushing home just in time to start watching something, or rushing away from home late to go somewhere only after finishing watching a program.
She liked commercials, too, and expressed an irritating reluctance to break away to take care of business during commercial breaks.
Over time, Malice’s mind merged with the technology she so loved. She disappeared into her virtual world, eventually powered down, and lost the ability to reboot.
Her family remembers her blue hair, blue eyes, and blue face that reflected the vast wonderland of information she assimilated and experiences she vicariously accumulated while they lived their lives around her.
When she died, they buried her with her computer on her lap and her cell phone in her hand. They installed a wireless access point on top of the coffin, plugged everything into a power outlet built into the gravesite, and initiated the special fund she set up for perpetual automatic payments for power and Internet service billed at the specially discounted “Death Rate.”
Her family did not really miss her, since she had mostly been absent from their reality, except virtually, for quite some time.
Her online friends did miss her posts, briefly. Sometimes someone will still catch themselves halfway expecting her to post or comment on something, and, in so doing, enjoy a passing memory related to mostly virtual Malice.
However, since her death, there has been no activity on any of her accounts, although rumors persist that her ghost would post if a ghost could post good posts.
Published in Meat and Potatoes for the Soul, Copyright © 2013 by K. Lynn Lewis.