Thursday, January 27, 2011

And Indeed There Will Be Time

If only it actually were true, as J. Alfred Prufrock says, that there will be time for a hundred visions and revisions before the taking of a toast and tea. In my experience, a single revision can take months. :o)

As I recently promised I would do, I have been dictating *everything* with my voice recognition software, rather than typing, in order to be kind to my arms. It's made a huge difference. But there are certain frequent errors that are making me crazy and even, on occasion, worrying me deeply. My VRS frequently mistakes "will" for "won't" and "won't" for "will." It also mistakes "ever" for "forever," and vice versa. This means that I could say to someone, "I will love you forever," but my VRS could write, "I WON'T love you EVER." Luckily (?), another common mistake is the misrecognition of "loathe" for "love," so maybe what the VRS would actually write is, "I won't loathe you ever," which is better than the other option, but still kind of far removed from the intended expression of true love. (Seriously! It mistakes "loathe" for "love"!!) This means, of course, that in addition to accidentally failing to tell someone I love them, I could also accidentally fail to tell someone I loathe them, and I'm not sure which would lead to worse consequences, accidentally loving someone you loathe or accidentally loathing someone you love. FOREVER. You must admit that they could both be pretty bad.

You know, I wonder if J. Alfred Prufrock's life could be improved by the use of VRS. If ever a man was in need of a happy voice-recognition accident, it's him. "I loathe poo" (for example) miswritten as "I love you," an accidental click of the mouse, and off it goes! He has dared, he has dared! Except that I don't think he begins many e-mails. Or maybe he does -- maybe he begins a thousand he doesn't send. Poor J. Alfred. You know, if you wait until you're certain about something to do it, you'll never do anything.

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The other day, I was writing an e-mail to a friend in which I was explaining about two other friends. Let's call them Lady X and Sir Y (chromosomally apt codenames). A long time ago, Lady X had a crush on Sir Y that was unfortunate (at the time) for a number of reasons, that she wished she didn't have, and that Sir Y knew she had -- BUT, Sir Y was a good guy and always had the decency to be a gentleman about it. I dictated: " Sir Y was a perfect gentleman and would never have made her uncomfortable by alluding to her crush." My VRS wrote: "Sir Y was a perfect gentleman and would never have made her uncomfortable by alluding to her crotch." HA HA HA HEE hoo

(As it happens, it is now years later and Lady X and Sir Y are happily partnered. I thank them for giving me permission to allude to their story on my blog. ^_^)

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I don't think it's sad that J. Alfred Prufrock is alone. It can be lovely to be alone. I think it's sad that he's *lonely*. And I think there's something he doesn't know about loneliness: that we all get it, that we've all been there at one time or another, even those women in the room talking of Michelangelo. That he is not actually alone when he says,

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

Don't drown, J. Alfred. Wake up, wake up! Presume! Begin! After tea and cakes and ices, force the moment to its crisis! DISTURB THE UNIVERSE! Please? 'Cuz you're making me sad.

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This post has been brought to you by angst, weltschmertz, a pair of ragged claws scuttling across the floors of silent seas, visions, revisions, decisions, indecisions, true love, the taking of tea, my voice recognition software, and T.S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock."