All Hallows Eve Horror Story: Hacked!
By womantrek on October 30, 2012
We have too many rules. Too many variables. I have no idea if writing about my life will have any effect on yours, or the world’s or the universe; even contemplating it turns me into some kind of self-centered, “world revolves around me” woman that I detest. I fight against my voice every day, and am only just beginning to understand why. There are things…
There are so many small things, that I can’t help but relate to larger ones. And the pain of NOT doing it is becoming more unbearable everyday. Especially today. Especially as we near another milestone in this country.
Is your life being cut short? I mean, mine has been so…abbreviated, of late. It’s become interrupted, to use a word steamed in cliché. It’s become (in the spirit of All Hallows Eve) “beheaded.”
Gross, I know. It is an absolute metaphor, to be sure, but it’s the perfect description for trying to get my hands to do what my head tells them to do.
Tonight I was trying to finish an online course, that I really had no interest in:
Head: “Hands, type another recommendation, STAT!”
Hands: “We can’t, dudette, we’re opening the fridge door right now. Again.”
Head: “You sillies. I want to finish this.”
Hands: “Well, until we get over there, there really is nothing you can do about it, is there?”
It’s the typical troubled employer-employee relationship; it’s the battle of wills between parent and child; or even more relevantly, the directives volleyed back and forth between branches of our own government. We are so dependent on our communications, so trusting that the correct messages and meanings reach our intended parties, that we have become complacent.
I really don’t like to reminesce about “bad things” in my past. Truly. I will someday though, and maybe someone will ask how I’m still alive, and then I will contemplate that in a second book. But I digress…while trying to run from my selfish, ego-centric thoughts…as I describe the end of days at my beloved University.
I was working at the U several years ago and about to be fired, for what I thought was a stupid post on my personal facebook profile, or working on my grad school “homework” (i.e., virtual life research). My boss was preparing to get rid of me, you know how it works, right? They bring in their closest friends, spew some shite to them about why you need to go, and then set situations in motion… it was quite interesting seeing it all played out, like I was watching it from an audience, so weird. Anyway, that’s a whole different book. I was assisting in getting a major off-site simulation prepared when I get an email from my boss instructing me to design and purchase t-shirts. We communicated entirely by email, I ordered the shirts, and long story short – they were wrong. I envisioned my head rolling on the ground, post guillotine drop.
After a very enthusiastic lynching during our department meeting, I go back down to the bowels of our building, back to my office in search of solace. On Facebook, of course. I type a joke to a friend, and then…hear laughing and guffaws coming from next door. Curious. Those Indian R&D guys, the "lab rats" I used to affectionately call them, laughed as if on cue. I shrugged it off. They had only just showed up a few weeks earlier, and I was under strict instructions not to bother them.
Regardless of whether or not my error in T-shirt purchasing judgment stemmed from the obvious efforts to embarrass me in front of my peers, it made me think about how communication happens…or doesn’t. We can have technological or cognitive errors in messaging and meaning-making, yet we choose to leave it up to the tech – I mean, I could have just as easily walked up two floors and got her confirmation face-to-face. I was okay with it being my fault after that assessment.
Too many variables. Life interrupted…
We can think of these things out here in real life. Miscommunications. How our Facebook accounts can be hacked, and we don’t notice it – but perhaps our relatives do, every single time they get a spammed email from our Facebook account. Can you imagine if hackers started TALKING for us too? Ugh. I shudder to think. Why would they even bother? Why would anyone want to start fights between our loved ones? Hmmm…
Imagine. You are an island.
I can tell you that in a virtual environment the hacking happens more than we like to think it does. Remote Access Trojans abound. Webcam hacking…It happened to me. I couldn’t figure out why all my virtual relationships were ending, I couldn’t figure out how people in my REAL LIFE knew who I was before I knew them…it took me two years to figure out someone had hacked all my accounts and acted as a “go between” – I like to call it a “HackSammich” - hacking communications between me and the avatars on my friends list. After TWO YEARS of observation and lurking, I determined I had about half a dozen boyfriends, all of whom I’d cheated on, of course, a couple of dom/sub contracts that I never agreed to, and absolutely ZERO effin real friends left. Well, except for my conservative friends. I had plenty of willing Republicans wanting to date me, or recruit me for some lowly job or another. Why would anyone want to make me look bad, or treat me like a janitor with a Master’s degree, or treat me like some kind of Guinea pig. Is it because of who or what they “thought” I was…was my character “less than?” And how did everyone seem to know?
It reminds me of the book/movie about David Gale. The guy who was put to death based on “evidence” that he murdered a woman. Except he didn’t do it. These days, you can craft all the evidence you want easily enough. Just find someone who stands up for your “cause” – maybe they work in a blood lab, or for the Social Security Office, or are photoshop wizards…and ask them to, quite anonymously, destroy some stranger they’ve never met. They’ll do it too. Doesn’t matter if they love or hate America. Both sides will do it. And those of us left over will end up picking up all the gory pieces.
How can we be so polarized, yet still believe we are the only side fighting for our freedom?
I read an article recently about the drones over Afghanistan, and how one of the Afghanis there was busted with a laptop full of intercepted video taped by the drones. Could you even imagine a country hacking and turning weapons on their own civilians? All the while, making us think that we’re in control, (or not) and are to blame for everything. Could you imagine going back to work in your lowly government job, on a Monday morning after finding out your employer was part of the effort to annihilate you and your entire family in the most deceptive manner?
How about someone coming up to you and revealing who they were online, wink wink, nudge nudge. And you remembering that “avatar” treating you in the most heinous tortuous way. It would be fucking surreal. Beyond surreal. Until you realized someone ate a hacksammich and forgot to offer you half…
Sometimes I imagine those R&D guys in the lab next door were having themselves a yummy hacksammich. Telling our competitor SimLab they wanted to rent the space – telling my boss they were sent by the SimLab. It’s the whole naughty teenager vs. divorced parents scenario! I know my boss and the SimLab boss didn’t like each other. What if? Nah, Probably didn’t happen that way. Makes you think though – do we always know that our contractors are on our side? Or are they simply taking over…from the inside out…all the while smiling and nodding like everything is just peachy. Business as usual.
If you can’t tell, I'm still dealing with the bitterness. I worry about everyone else, like my kids, my friends – on all sides of our political and religious and human rights debates – I wonder what kinds of messages they’re getting.
And every day I wonder how I ended up in a place where there has been such heinous miscommunication.
My head is able logically sort it, make an attempt at telling my heart to mend…
But my hands….taking a long time to catch up….
Who is whispering in your ear?
Buffy: You're missing the whole point of Halloween.
Willow: Free Candy?
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