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A Must Read from Barbara Rose Brooker

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Nothing Works

Barbara Rose Brooker

Jul 25 · 5 min read

hate technology.

Nothing works. I’ve done nothing today. Not only do I have virus anxiety, but the only thing that works is my TV, which is on twenty four seven, reporting the rise of virus cases, and deaths. Even Alexa isn’t working. When I shout “Alexa!” there’s silence. She’s not working.

Anyway, it’s the middle of the night and I hear loud talking. My heart racing, sure that there’s a break in, I press the 911 panic button on my phone. In fifteen minutes, three burly police officers with keys clinking from their belts, arrive at my apartment. Shaking, I’m ranting someone is in the apartment, hiding. “I heard talking! Someone is hiding!” I repeat.

“Hey! Lady! It’s Alexa,” sighs a tired looking officer, looking at me as if I’m nuts. “You need to get Alexa fixed!”

As the weeks pass in mostly quarantine, I spend hours on Google, taking notes on technology, calling tech friends with questions, but they always say they’re in the middle of a Zoom meeting.

Still, nothing works.

If I scramble eggs on my fairly new stove, the fire alarm goes off, and then the tenants run down the stairs, yelling “Fire!” Now they give me dirty looks. Not to mention my pandemic anxiety. Obsessively, I worry if I get the virus and end up dying, my poor fifty something kids will have to face time me to say goodbye, and in the middle of our conversation, an 800 number will interrupt our call and my phone will go dead.

My tech anxiety is so bad that I’ve doubled my shrink zoom sessions. Even sending an attachment, I break into a cold sweat. My printer doesn’t work and sometimes my TV sticks on Netflix and the same movie stays frozen. No matter what I do, what buttons I press on the several remotes, nothing works.

You have to understand that I’m from the typewriter generation. I yearn for my little pink business cards printed with one telephone number on it. Now business cards have lists of links and Apps.

As the pandemic rages, and my anxiety grows, I have a recurrent nightmare: I’m lost. I’m driving. It’s dark, the road is thin, and as I drive, the road is thinner, and below, a vast dark green ocean is ready to swallow me and the car won’t stop. My cell phone is attached to the little hook on my belt but it only has ten percent battery juice left in it, so I call 911. A recording comes on, and my phone dies. I wake shaking. I look at the vase filled with yellow roses my daughter sent and I smell the fog floating from the open window and I’m glad I’m alive.

Never will the world be what it was. You never can go back. But I need to work, make money, need to develop social networking skills. Zooming has replaced the telephone, skype, and e-mailing. Recently, I was zooming on this hot national TV show and the host was promoting my latest novel, when my land phone rang, and the computer screen went dark. The producer called on my cell phone, shouting that I have to shut the phones off and that I “fucked up” their show.

Today, I have a pitch meeting with an LA network producer. He and his colleagues are interested in one of my books for a TV series. I’ve been in this game many times but I’m a fame whore and I won’t give up.

I wear a turtleneck and weave two black ostrich feathers into my long brown silver streaked hair. I glam up. I take a deep breath. It’s time. I click the zoom link. Wham! The little green camera is lit. A blast of music. Boom! Bubsy Jacobs about forty something, thin as a pipe, stands next to a huge rocket ship. “I’m virtual.” He laughs.

The head producer they call Ro Ro, short for Rothman, says with a yawn, that the network “loves,” my project. I’m sure he has never read my book. He has a large face and tiny distracted eyes.

Epic Glassman, about thirty and gorgeous, in a bored monotone, gushes how much she loves Should I Sleep In His Dead Wife’s Bed, and that she read it “head to toe.” She pauses, her round blue eyes behind huge chic round glasses, glaring. “However,” she continues in her voice soft as a gnat, “ I would like to see your protagonist Heather do something besides look for love. Also, she needs to be …younger?” She presses her full pale lips, disapprovingly.

I take a deep breath. “Well, first, her name is Lisa. And I want to keep her at sixty-five. She’s a Phd psychologist, researching the sex lives of men over sixty. She wants more than work. She wants love and fights ageism and sexism.”

“How do we know this?” she asks, impatiently.

“It’s on the first page,” I reply. “You’re in her office. She has a patient. It’s right there.”

“Who do you see playing the part?“ Ro Ro asks quickly.

“Diane Keaton,” I reply.

“Too old,” Epic says, with a bored sigh.

“I agree,” says Ro Ro. “The old actresses are in Rehab or in assisted living.” Just as I’m about to reply that his reason is ageist and sexist, and that I won’t let the networks change my work, I realize that my audio is off and I can’t hear them, nor can they hear me, and their faces are frozen on my computer screen. Frantically, I’m looking for the un-mute tiny red arrow, but when I click the arrow, the screen goes black.

The pandemic rages on. My anxiety continues.

“Mom. I put money in your Venmo app,” says my daughter on the phone. “It’s a gift. You didn’t get your unemployment.”

“Venmo?”

“My husband put the app on your phone! The money goes directly into your account. It’s a three-hundred dollar gift. No one smart goes into banks anymore.”

“Wow, thank you, “I say, thinking I’ll have extra money this month.

The weeks pass and I’m thinking I have three hundred dollars extra in my account. Whoopee! I buy shampoo, books, a New Yorker membership. Until I check my Citibank account and not only am I overdrawn but checks bounced.

“It can’t. You made a mistake!” I shout at the customer service man. He has a heavy accent and I keep saying, “What? What do you mean the money isn’t there? I have Venmo. Citi Bank has to make this good!”

“Venmo is not a bank. Venmo transfers your money into your Citibank account. I will talk you through.”

“So why do I need Venmo?” I shout. “I could walk to the bank.”

“Bank closed. Pandemic.Now go to your venmo App. I help you.”

Perspiring , I try to follow him as he instructs me step by step. But when I press my password’s tiny letters , a Reset Password bar pops up. I’m not breathing.

“Try again,” he says,patiently. I try again.

Again.

Again.

Finally a little bar says you are now transferred to Citi Bank. You will receive an e-mail.

“Success!” he says. “You see. You can do it.”

Every day, I’m zooming, apping, instagramming. I go on the singles sites. Some dudes have passwords to get on their zoom accounts, others sit in virtual atmospheres, their faces strangely young as they use Google Virtual for to erase lines, bags, wrinkles.

Nothing works.

To be continued.

BarbaraRoseBrooker/author of her latest novel Love, Sometimes, published Feb 2020, Post Hill Press/Simon Schuster

Brooker is working on The Corona Diaries and Other Things. Her national TV appearances, and podcasts The Rant are on You Tube and www.barbararosebrooker.com

Barbara Rose Brooker

WRITTEN BY

Barbara Rose Brooker, author/teacher/poet/MFA, published 13 novels. Her latest novel, Feb 2020, Love, Sometimes, published by Post Hill Press/Simon Schuster.

Am I in a TIME WARP?

Saturday, May 2, 2020
It Should be Kentucky Derby Day

It’s another Saturday in this new Pandemic World.  I am fortunate to have somewhat of a schedule for newclevelandradio.net during the week, recording and preparing podcasts.  However, most weekends seem to zap me of energy as the days drag on with little to do.  However, today is different.  My husband and I did some closet cleaning in the studio/office this morning as we are attempting to do some reorganization.  Now if you have ever been in the home studio I will tell you that my husband is a pack-rat, not a hoarder.  I think we have three or four end of life computers in the closet and one set out in the room.  As my hubby would say, you never know we just may need parts from one to fix another.  Did I mention parts that go back to a Commodore 64?  If you have no idea what that is, you are very young indeed.

Additionally, I have two podcasts today and both should be fun and interesting.  The first is with Just4theSpellofIt.com, lead by Gary Moss my big brother.  Isn’t it interesting that we call an older sibling our big brother or sister, and the truth is I am as tall as he is or maybe taller?  Gary’s podcast is all about words and Scrabble™, yet the techniques he uses teaches and creates to become a better Scrabble™ player, any one of us can use to become better at anything we want to achieve.  The second is with Rick Bolton, musician extraordinaire.

Currently, I am trying to achieve patience with the #StaySafe #StayAtHome orders.  I agree with the orders and I would rather be safe and struggle financially than get this horrid virus and possibly die.  I understand the need to get back to work, earn a living, and feel accomplished at the end of the day, but COVID19 has invaded us and it will linger and combust again in the Fall.

Earlier today I posted ion Facebook that I feel like I am in a time warp, that each day is the same, nothing changes, and yet the slogan #WEAREINTHISTOGETHER continues to play through the media.  Together but alone and that is what is warping my senses.  I need to chill and breathe and make it to the tomorrow and the many days after that when it is safer to spin out of this feeling.

Have a Happy!

How Can the POTUS BE SUCH AN ASS?

4/24/20 Amy Ferris Says it for me:
He’s now claiming that he put the idea out there ‘sarcastically’ just to see what would happen. The idea of humans injecting disinfectant into their bodies. He’s now back peddling. Rewinding. Saying it was just a joke. He wasn’t serious.

This is what I have to say to Donald trump:

Fuck you. Fuck you for being an asshole, fuck you for treating human life so shabbily, for testing people’s hearts and souls day in and day out. Fuck you for making this horrific and devastating pandemic meaningless in your eyes. Fuck you for treating the United States of America like some porn star you fuck for kicks and then want her hushed and silent. Fuck you for not instilling hope, for not inspiring compassion, for not inspiring dignity or decency. Fuck you for humiliating people, for bullying people, for making fun of people. Fuck you for treating human life with such cruelty & disdain – what a disgraceful vile creature.

Sarcastic, my ass.

Fuck you.

Get outta our house, you’ve dirtied & sullied it quite enough.

Please Be Kind!

Sharing:  http://postcoffeeprewine.com/posts-2020/

Pro-choice Thanksgiving: Amy Ferris

Pro-choice Thanksgiving:

A lot of my friends – tons of friends – are alone this year, this Thanksgiving. Many folks are estranged from their families; from friends or from a life they once had & held.

I know this feeling. Estrangement.

And I will tell you that there were many days – many days – more than I care to count – where I’d rewind, replay, re-adjust, re-calibrate, recall, & review all the crazy ass-shit that went down, all the shit that went sideways & just blew up. Imploded. The pain was unbearable. And what I can tell you, what I know – most of the guilt & shame & regret we carry around – schlep around – is not our own. It’s not. We inherited it; a collection – a greatest hits album – an entire lifetime of family history: the anger, the shame, the guilt; years of he said, she said, they said. Fuck you, no, no fuck you. fuck you more. Years of crap. Years of garbage piled on top of more garbage.

Years of mistakes & wrong turns & rebellion that are treated like felonies instead of misdemeanors – without forgiveness, or acceptance. There is nothing worse than having the past thrown up in your face over & over & over again. To be reminded of all the crazy crap you did when you didn’t know better. When all you wanted was to be seen, to be heard, to be held – when all you wanted was to be loved.

And the truth is – the rub is – everyone has their own shit.

Everyone has their own guilt.
Everyone has their own crap that they have dealt out, that they spewed, that they tossed into the heap.
Everyone has stuff that they need/want to hide, keep secret. Everyone has stuff they want hidden deep – way deep – kept in the darkness.

Everyone.

We are all broken. We are all filled with shards and jagged edges and sharp pointy pieces that can hurt like a motherfucker. We are all imperfect creatures. Each & every one of us, and my heart breaks, cracks, for all my friends who will sit alone this year wishing for forgiveness over stuff they said or did when they were younger. Foolish. Over mistakes they made because all they wanted was to be loved or liked, over actions they took, words they said, because they wanted a piece of a memory, a token of a love from someone they once cherished, adored. A reminder to hold. Wishing to hear the words: I’m so sorry. To hear the words: I was wrong. To hear the words: I hurt you, abused you, mistreated you.

We treat our own so unkindly and we wonder why the world is so deeply chaotic, so deeply troubled, so deeply wounded, so deeply steeped in pain & suffering; so unforgiving, so horribly mean-spirited.

We wonder.

So for all my friends and all the folks out there who are deeply, deeply pained, who are sorrowful during the holidays because they have been discarded, dismissed, forgotten, left out – please know this – we get to choose who we wanna share our lives with. We get to choose who we want in our lives. We get to choose the folks who lift us, inspire us, make us feel like we swallowed the sun. We get to choose who we walk side by side with, and stand with. We get to choose who we love. Blood may be thicker than water, but water is so much easier to clean up.

So, please, love yourself.
Please, forgive yourself.
Believe in the greatness of your own life.
Believe in your beauty.
Believe in your own amazing, stunning, messy, complicated, gorgeous life.

And if anyone – one soul – makes you feel that you are not worthy, not enough; if anyone makes you feel small, insignificant, less than – they do not deserve the privilege of you.

I hold you tight.

Amy Ferris _ I Want Trump 2 Stop Touching ME!

Donald trump is not “feeling up” America, people, he is FUCKING her; he is fucking her and he is abusing her and he is raping her and he is doing this every single day. He is trafficking her. He is trafficking America, selling her out – selling her, period.. This is how he treats women. Enough of this horrifying ugly nasty shit. Enough of this vulgar man. Enough of him and his ilk. Any man who can claim that he can grab a woman by her pussy because… he can – because he has the fame and the means and the money, any man who mocks the disabled, any man who claims the truth is fake news, any man who leads his followers to chant consistently and repeatedly Lock Her Up Lock Her Up Lock Her Up, any man who demeans & disgraces & devalues women, any man who throws his allies under a bus, any man who stands with White Supremacists & White Nationalists, any man who tosses babies into cages, any man who lies through his teeth…any man like this would be out on bail awaiting trial.

I don’t want him impeached, I want him impaled.

#FuckTrump