Technology Showdown:The Great Unwashed Versus The Underpaid Youth of Technology Stores

I went computer shopping yesterday. This went worse than when I go regular shopping, a process that generally ends with me lying face-down on the mall floor, groaning. So you can imagine how a visit to no less than three techie stores went.

The first one was a complete write off because I burst into tears when I found a model of computer I liked.

Underpaid and Underage Best Buy Employee– “How can I help you Ma’am?”

The Great Unwashed holding a  grey netbook gingerly in her hands whispers “It’s not”. Her lip begins to quiver so that the last word is only faintly audible, “blue” and promptly starts to cry.

Underpaid and Underage Best Buy Employee who is now also  uncomfortable “Can I get a manager here?”

Next I headed to an independent electronics store.

Hopeful Techie Guy “What are you looking for today?”

The Great Unwashed quietly lays her head down on a shelf in between two computers and says nothing because it’s technology so she has no idea what she’s looking for.

Driving away from the store I realized that continuing to burst into grief stricken tears for my old netbook and spontaneously going limp and mute was never going to end with a new computer. So I put on my game face. And walked into Future Shop with a swagger that said to the world “I know the difference between a monitor and a hard drive 50% of the time.” Clearly this show of confidence was far too convincing because it resulted in the following conversation.

Future Shop Employee “This is an internet only computer.”

The Great Unwashed “So it gets internet. That’s a good thing, I think.”

Future Shop Employee “No, it’s only online.”

The Great Unwashed “The internet is always online.”

Future Shop Employee “Internet only means it only accesses the internet.”

The Great Unwashed “Does that mean you don’t need a phone line to get the internet with this computer?”

Future Shop Employee “No, this computer only has the internet.”

The Great Unwashed “Everyone has the internet.”

Future Shop Employee “I don’t think you understand.”

The Great Unwashed “That’s only because you aren’t making sense.”

This won’t come as a surprise to anyone but my shopping trip was unsuccessful, and I have yet to acquire a new computer.

Misunderstood Youth Are Trouble

The following is a conversation I had with a seventeen year old future actuary yesterday

The Great Unwashed “What program are you in?”

(We had already established that I was an old lady in a first year French course and I was majoring in being tired and grouchy.)

Seventeen Year Old– “Actuarial Sciences”

The Great Unwashed– Wait, are you going to become an actuary?

Seventeen Year Old a little shocked that anyone would be excited by math and actuarial science – “Yes”

The Great Unwashed– “Statistically what is the most dangerous activity in the world? Is it riding an elephant up Mount Everest?” Crossing my fingers and grinning because I’m excited about being right “I bet it’s riding an elephant up Mount Everest.”

Seventeen Year Old – “That’s not really what I do.”

The Great Unwashed in a disappointed tone – “Oh.”  Perks up “That’s what I would do if I was an actuary. It’s probably best that I’m not an actuary, we’d have people water skiing on the backs of those terrifying arctic seals for kicks, to see if my math was correct.”

(Photo Credit :

You should see me slalom ski on one of these.(Photo Credit :

Seventeen Year Old who is confused about why I’m talking about water sports with killer mammals- “Actuaries make their calculations based on someone’s  gender, where they live, what they do and then say how likely it is that they’d die in one year or five years or”

The Great Unwashed jumps in “So like if I was a thirty eight year old man living in a cave on the side of a cliff, who rode a unicycle to work, you could tell me when I was going to take a dirt nap?”

Seventeen Year Old who is now backing towards the exit- “No, it doesn’t work like that.”

The Great Unwashed visibly disappointed “Oh, that’s too bad. Here I was going to pack up and move to a cave to make hemp bracelets to sell with him.”

I was about to ask the young gentleman more math questions but he ran out suddenly, I imagine it was due to excitement from last night being the final class of the course.

The Student Ghetto Chronicles; Making Good Choices With Flame Throwers

One of the benefits of living in the Student Ghetto, aside from having random showers with midnight thespians, is the endless parade of debauchery that goes on in the Frat house next door.

Men aged 18 to 25 are most likely to die in an accident. This is because the decision making part of their brain hasn’t fully formed so they frequently think things like “I can jump off of that” or “This will barely hurt”. It makes for good stories, however on occasion their hijinks become too much to witness and I have to step in; “Jeremy! Put down the flamethrower. Where did you even get that?” or “Scott, I have no doubt in your capacity to jump off of your roof, I merely doubt your ability to walk afterwards- Get. Down.”

This rarely works. But I have to try.

The temperature is set to dip below negative forty degrees Celsius tonight. It’s a record low for my city.

I tried to find a photo of a thermometer registering -40 degree Celsius but apparently photographers have more sense than to work in those conditions. So I put up a picture of Elvis instead.

I tried to find a photo of a thermometer registering -40 degree Celsius but apparently photographers have more sense than to work in those conditions. So I put up a picture of Elvis instead. His young, sultry eyes keep me warm. (Photo Credit :

Even though the sun is still out, already the cold is becoming unbearable. My butter dish was empty so to make turnip palatable I was forced to visit the local convenience store. On the short walk to and from the store I witnessed a Frat boy standing outside without gloves smoking a cigarette. The more concerning part was he wasn’t wearing a coat either. For the five minute jaunt outside I had donned a pair of snowpants and three additional layers.

“An unfortunate day for that habit” I yelled to him over the freezing minus thirty degree winds.

He nodded and then one of his fingers froze and broke off. I might be exaggerating but he looked extremely cold.

Then turning the corner to my house I saw a frat boy waiting for the right second to dash across four lanes of traffic. In addition to record breaking low temperatures, the city also received approximately a foot of snow in the past twenty four hours. The roads have been plowed. Ish. As long as your definition of plowed includes a lot of snow being on the main thoroughfares and cars bashing into one another from a lack of traction.

Thank goodness the plow already went through or this would be impassable. (Photo Credit:

Thank goodness the plow already went through or this would be impassable. (Photo Credit:

“Hey!” my staccato greeting made the young man turn. “The cars have zero stopping ability in this. Cross at the lights.”

I hurried quickly towards my house so I wouldn’t watch him be flattened by an errant vehicle.


This post is a part of the Student Ghetto series. If you would like to learn more about how to create furniture out of empty two-four boxes and drink effectively before 11 AM please visit the following links

Bongs, Dirty Laundry and Elmo,

Artificial Body Holes and Bravery

This was Supposed to be about my Weekend but now it’s a Weather Report. Or an Instruction Manual for Peeping Toms, I’m Not Sure

Artificial Body Holes and Bravery

Despite the fact that we ceased to be students some time ago, Roscoe and I still live in the student ghetto. Our miniature porch faces onto the backyard (or rather the basketball court cum parking lot) of a frat house. Across the street is a hovel which houses, by our count, five young men who enjoy shoving foreign objects through all their extremities and tattooing the rest of their visible epidermal layer.

Head banging Brain Muncher

Our neighbour, who rarely turns down an offer of banana bread. Photo credit: Munir Hamdan)

They also take pleasure in blasting angry death metal music while I make dinner. Most of the time I don’t mind strains of “%&#K THE WORLD AND EVERYOOOOOOOOOONE” followed by intense guitar solos, but after a long day I have been known to don the ear protecting head phones worn by most construction workers.

With the exception of discovering a partially eaten hamburger on our lawn or having to walk the long route to the park while the metal heads try and film “a sweet sweet trick” on the sidewalk and part of the road, both the frat boys and the metallers are good neighbours.

The end of the school year is approaching for university students and so the other night the metallers were throwing a party. Roscoe was on call at the hospital so our family friend Gordy* was over to have dinner and help me guard against a ghost break in. Living in an eighty year old house does unfortunately come with downsides.

So Gordy and I were just returning from our after dinner walk to the river when I noticed all the people milling on the metaller’s lawn, beside a minivan which was also on the lawn. University cities love to ticket vehicles parked on lawns, it’s an easy way to add to the city budget. However this was the end of the metaller’s year, so even though I didn’t necessarily share their love of head banging guitar solos and swear words I didn’t want their revelry to be marred by a seventy dollar ticket.

So I marched my five foot two self right over to the group of them. “Oi!” I said.

Just as a reference when entering a new culture it’s important to use language from that culture to help integrate yourself with it’s people, hence my “Oi!” to begin the exchange.

“Oi!” I said as I approached a young man with spacers in his ears so large that a baby’s fist could have gone straight through them. “You’ll get a ticket if you park there, that’s my house.” I gestured to the red brick building across the street. “You’re welcome to park in the driveway as long as you leave me space to get to work in the morning.”

All of the young men turned to face me. Collectively they had enough hardware in their young heads to open a store. “Thank you so much!’ they exclaimed.

Gordy stood the whole time a short distance away, ready to jump in at any moment should the youths turn and pull a shiv out of one of their many zippered pant pockets.

“I can’t believe you just walked up to them like that” he said. Maybe it was brave, or maybe it was my near sightedness and forgotten glasses that prevented me from seeing the hypodermic needles full of meth they were holding, but in my experience if someone walks up to you offering free parking and you want free parking, you almost never can go wrong. So Gordy and I listened as screamo metal wafted in through hundred year old windows for two hours afterwards and then Gordy left for the evening. The ghosts of course then moved in, rattling our thirty year old fridge until it was all but on it’s side and tapped tree branches on the windows.

*Although Gordy is arguably the second biggest fan of The Great Unwashed his name has been changed because at some point I may want to talk smack about him and so it’s best if he has only an inkling that Gordy might be his nom de plume.

Talking smack about people may very well be The Great Unwashed’s new schtick. After finishing both the partially clothed in church post and the award post I shall be doing a new series entitled “Diana may in fact be a lemur”.

Travesty Tuesdays -Just Your Standard “How’s School?” Email

Prior to sending this message I had seen the words “How’s your booty?” written on this young man’s Facebook wall. The poor soul in question is one of my cousins. He and his sister, for whatever reason seem to suffer the brunt of my weird communications. For ones so young they bear the hardship remarkably well.


Dear Mr. Hooling*,

As it seems to be a courtesy among the younger generation to begin each communication with a question of the state of your backside I was tempted to inquire about the welfare of your “booty”. However I suspect that “booty” has the potential to encompass many things which are not directly related to one’s sit upon and may not in fact relate to your seat at all! Hence I shall begin another way.

And so in this frigid and dark time of year I ask you sir, how is life? Is it a flannel and microfleece layered slog or is it a youthful stumble through the streets arm in arm with a comrade?

I certainly hope for the benefit of the future generation’s ears that your schooling is fraught with the second kind of activity. However given the climate of the city you live in, it may have elements of the first.

Remember you only get to be sexy once. Unless you’re the group of eight year olds I dealt with today who spent a portion of their spelling lesson spouting “If you’re sexy and you know it- CLAP YOUR HANDS!” in which case a fifth of your life is spent in a perpetual state of knowing sexiness.



*Names have been changed to protect the identities of young people who are probably embarrassed to share 12.5% of their DNA with me.