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Monday, July 22, 2013

The Observer Effect

Quantum physics are at work here.

There was an unexpected outcome of having written my blog daily for over a year; I grew attached to my readers.  Over the recent hiatus I have taken from writing my blog, I discovered that, somehow, during the rigorous process of generating new topics to discuss from day to day, I created a single, coherent character to whom I was writing.  Apparently, out of the 17,400 or so readers that touched down on A New Dawn, I created a Frankenstein of literary lineage.  I ascribed personality, intellectual curiosity and humor to this imaginary composite representation of my readers.  I find myself missing the pseudo-companionship of this cyber-world friend.  Writing my blog caused me to observe life, with all of its labyrinthine twists, freshly, with a newly-acquired journalistic awareness. I developed the habit of mindfulness.  I constantly reflected upon what I could strip from my life experiences to share with my imaginary friend. It became a habit to unearth material to bring back to my readers.  Like a dog digging up his bone, I dug through the detritus of everyday living for the brightest, most titillating and most relevant observations I could find.  As it turned out, I bumped up against stories to share with my hungry Frankenstein simply by going through life. 

All of this crystalized for me yesterday while waiting for service in an Apple Store in the Providence Place Mall.  When I say the store was crowded, I mean that, at one point, one of the welcoming minions, speaking into his headset just loudly enough for me to hear, announced that the store was at capacity.  No more comers until they moved some of the guests out those doors.  How often does that happen?  However, it quickly became apparent to me that the majority of the guests were not happy campers. Their phones, iPads and laptops were not working properly.  Of the fifteen or so Apple store employees that I counted, only four seemed to be dedicated to educating or selling. The rest were cattle movers or problem-solvers.  There were additional hands “outback” doing quick and easy on-site repairs.  
For over a week, my MacBook Pro has had a recalcitrant and unwilling track pad. This creates a level of frustration that I can barely express.  It took me over 1 1/2 hours to shut down my computer because I couldn’t get the curser to move onto the correct button.  I took it into the shop on Martha’s Vineyard (not an Apple store). I couldn’t reproduce the problem. They urged me to take it off Island because my laptop is less than two months old. I have since learned that the curser issue occurs only when the machine is warm -- say, been used for four or five hours. Let it cool down, the curser works. I have six or seven videos to document the problem at this point.  I tried to make an appointment on Thursday for a visit on Saturday. No appointments available. When I came to Providence, I called the store. I was the fifth caller on hold at 10:08 am Saturday morning. When I finally got through to a human, an employee listened to my tale of woe and said, “Come on down.  Bring your laptop.”  I was there in thirty minutes.  
From 11:00 to 12:00, I waited quietly.  I watched.  I borrowed one of the children’s seating balls to take the weight off my legs from time to time. Since I avoid sitting, the wait seemed interminable.  After an hour, I politely asked the Concierge when my turn was among the table of eight hoping to be “squeezed in” without a formal appointment. Funny, apparently, simply by asking, I was next...  His comment when he told me someone would be right over, though intended to be sincere and explanatory, made my tablemate and me laugh until our eyes watered.  He said, “It’s a bad day, we are down personnel. Unfortunately, we are missing five geniuses today.”  Because I am not fully conversant in Apple-ese, this was, on face value, a comical statement. Upon reflection, I did understand that he was telling me that five service technicians were not in-house, though they were scheduled to work. My first reaction to the comment, “We are missing five geniuses today” was that I would have to write a blog about that bit of nonsense!
In the next twenty minutes that I spent waiting for my own genius, I mulled over the realization that when I started writing my blog I thought I was putting a bit of myself out there to share with the world.  I had absolutely no idea that gradually, the world would find its way to me through comments, both verbal and written. Einstein postulated existence of the Observer Effect. As I understand it,  in quantum physics, there is no reality until that reality is observed.  In other words, we alter every object in the world simply by paying attention to it. 
When I started this blog, I saw myself as an observer of the world, reporting back to my readers about what I saw and experienced. What I have learned since is that I have been changed by the observations I made. I continue to be changed because the kind of culling for material I did has become a habit. Simply by paying attention to the details of life, I have been altered. The scientist has become the experiment! 

note: the store manager said they would need up to three days to replace the track pad on my MacBook Pro. I took my laptop with me to find a store closer to my home.  As I was leaving my “genius” whispered to me that the replacement really takes less than an hour to complete.

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