Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

If You Can Get It - 3

I swore I'd hit 3,000 words tonight, and by the time I hit my stopping spot I made it to 3,210 -- 1300 today. Not too bad, but still not up to speed. Given the lateness of the hour, this is a little low of proof reading. My apologies.


The sisters sat across the dinner table from each other, well-heaped cartons of Chinese food between them, eating silently.

“I called Mom and Dad and told them you’d got in safe,” Kristy said.

Katie rolled her eyes and hunched her shoulders forward. “Mom tell you I’m some kind of a drunk or slut or something?”

“No. She was pretty calm compared to the old Mom outbursts.”

“Gotta love the meds,” Katie interjected.

“Is it a lot better?”

“Yeah. Remember the way she used to just refuse to talk to people all day when things were going wrong? There’s never any of that now. She talks now, she asks how you’re doing, she wants to be around you. It’s nice actually. The last couple years it’s like getting to really know her for the first time.” She paused, staring out the darkening back windows for a moment. “That’s the good part. The bad thing is that once she got her shit together with the meds she had this religious conversion — reversion, I guess. I think it has helped her in a lot of ways, but the moralizing is a pain in the ass.”

“I heard a bit of that on the phone. I can see how it was frustrating to move back into that.”

Katie nodded but didn’t respond.

“Isn’t that kind of your field, though? With the Religious Studies degree?”

“Yeah, well, I picked Religious Studies because I wanted to learn about other world religious traditions, not because I wanted to live with Nags For Jesus.”

“I suppose you could have done that without the student loans. What do you do with a religious studies degree anyway?”

Katie put down her chopsticks with decision. “Don’t start on the ‘what do you do with that degree’ thing now, Miss Business Degree. For God’s sake. Do you think I haven’t heard that one before?”

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t think I haven’t asked myself why I studied something like that in such a shitty economy. It’s not like I can just go down to the local religion shop and get a job. But I just couldn’t imagine wasting college on something I wasn’t interested in.” She poked at her food for a moment, then visibly drew herself together. “But if you want the religious studies answer, I think the issue with Mom right now is that with her recent re-conversion she’s adopted a strongly law-code type notion of morality along with a sort of prosperity theology, meaning that she sees virtue primarily as following specific rules and believes that if she could just get me to follow those rules that I’d be happy and do well in life.”


Katie shrugged. “See, I learned stuff in college. It’s just not stuff that gets me a job. And studying religion doesn’t make me like Mom’s preaching — or her Catholic radio and Catholic TV — either. But you don’t care about all this. How’s work? Where is it that you’re working now? You got some kind of a promotion or something a year ago, didn’t you?”

“I got the job almost a year ago. I’m a product line manager for AppLogix.”

Katie looked blank.

“You’ve probably seen their iPhone apps. PocketDJ?”

“Oh, yeah, I know PocketDJ. Everyone had that at college the last semester. There was even a guy who hooked it up to the student union stereo system and DJed a whole party off it. You work on that?”

“A product line manager is a cross functional position. I’m in charge of talking to all the different teams that are working on a project and make sure that it’s meeting objectives, getting to stores on time, advertised correctly, the whole thing. And the product line I’m working on is the PocketDJ Player that will be in stores this Fourth of July.”

“What do you mean ‘Player’. Is it a new version of the app?”

“No, it’s a dedicated MP3 player for PocketDJ. It’s got a touch-turntable and sliders and everything. Really slick industrial design.”

“But… What’s the point? People don’t want to carry around another thing in their pockets. They want to use PocketDJ on their iPhones. That’s the whole point: that it works so well just on your phone.”

Kristy shrugged, stacked the dishes, and carried the left overs into the kitchen. “A lot of people will still be happy with the iPhone app, but the dedicated device has a better sound chip, a 6.3mm audio jack, and other features that hard core fans will care about. It focus-grouped really well with fans. And it lets us do an end-run around Apple, which insists on treating us like any other app developer and doesn’t give us some of the access we want.”

“Oh. Well, I guess you guys must know what you’re doing.”

Kristy arrived early at the AppLogix campus the next morning, as was her wont. This promptness earned her BMW coupe a parking spot that would be shaded by the nearest building by the time she came out in the evening, and it gave her time to prepare before her weekly project call with members of the PocketDJ Player team from all over the world. Designed more with the intention of being a “walking campus” than convenience, the AppLogix campus consisted of eight comparatively small, single story buildings, each named after one of the world’s tallest mountains. Kristy was in Kangchenjunga, a name so uniquely intimidating in its spelling that its residents habitually referred to it as “Kanga” instead and had procured for the lobby a huge stuffed representation of the Winnie The Pooh character of the same name, at whose feet wags would leave assorted votive offerings.

At eight o’clock, having fortified herself with coffee and updated spreadsheets, Kristy dialed into the conference call and began the cataloging of her team’s achievements and failures. The Singapore design center retained certain doubts as they tested specimens of the finished product. Shanghai insisted that the shipments for Amazon and Best Buy would arrive in the US on time, yet became evasive when asked when they would actually ship and how long the shipment would take. The training team bombarded her with questions as they prepared the training materials which would allow telephone technical service representatives to sufficiently confuse themselves as to be unable to answer any customer queries. And dozens of other details were gathered, debated, scheduled, assigned as action items, and crossed off lists. As she lapped the first hour, Kristy was in her element, and mildly gratified that, all the usual sources of frustration aside, there was less to fault than she had expected. The launch of the PocketDJ Player was exactly the sort of incredibly complex task which required her mastery of detail to guide it to completion. Take that hand from the tiller and any number of needs would be forgotten, deadlines missed. And if all went well, it would be the faultlessness of this launch which would bring the promotion to Director which would acknowledge the level at which she had already been performing for the last six months.

In the midst of this well-managed whirlwind, her cellphone buzzed to proclaim the arrival of a text.

Katie: “do you have spare hdmi cable?”

She shoved the phone angrily away, but the knowledge of the unanswered question disrupted her concentration until, while the lead of the programming team in Slovakia explained an obstacle to meeting the scheduled delivery date for the second generation Player software, she seized the phone and replied: “Bottom left computer desk drawer in my room. What are you doing?”

“setting up xbox”

“I’m at work. BUSY! STFU!”

“ok chill”


Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP said...

iPhones? Interesting: Then the story must be set no earlier than 2007 -- in which case, Kristy's newspaper is, presumably, an intentional anachronism....

The Ubiquitous said...

At first I thought this was a true-life story, or based on it. Then I read previous posts, and this one a little more carefully.

MrsDarwin said...

Angelico: WSJ. Our house. Every morning. Otherwise how would we have anything to post about? Except that either it wasn't delivered this morning, or some little person on his little bike hid it somewhere, and NO I'M NOT BITTER about missing my weekend Journal.

Melanie B said...

Until Dom got the iPad we received the Boston Herald daily. Now we're scrambling for material to start the grill.

Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP said...

Mrs Darwin:

WSJ. [...] Otherwise how would we have anything to post about?

There is at least one alternative -- but from the sound of it, yall's cupboard isn't stocked with NPR mugs.

Melanie B:

Now we're scrambling for material to start the grill.

If you missed the chance to stockpile the woodshed with old-translation missals, you might just manage to grab a few new-translation learning aids. And with any luck, the Liturgy of the Hours will soon get the translation update it deserves....

Darwin said...

There is at least one alternative -- but from the sound of it, yall's cupboard isn't stocked with NPR mugs.

When I listen to radio news, it's invariably NPR, but the combination of news and commute was getting me down so I switched pretty quickly to audio books.

Melanie B said...

I don't think I could ever be desperate enough to start a fire with a missal or LOTH volume, no matter how out of date. Unless it were in the middle of a blizzard in February and we had no power and it were the only way to keep the kids from freezing.

Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP said...


Years ago on this blog, you mentioned your habit of listening to audiobooks during your commute, and I am much indebted to you for sharing that idea. I tried it about a year ago, with The Moviegoer, and find it a great use of the time. Up this week: A Handful of Dust -- in between Morning Edition and All Things Considered, of course.

Melanie B:

Think 'burnt offering', not 'bonfire'.