Spiritual Reflex

November 12, 2009


“Life is like a sewer — what you get out of it depends on what you put into it.”
– Tom Lehrer.

In Firefox, you can turn off Google’s automatic search suggestions by typing “about:config” into the URL bar and hitting return. Then type the word “suggest” into the filter box; double-clicking the “browser.search.suggest.enabled” line will set it to false, and then you can close that tab.
It’s useful for a lot of people, I’m sure, but I’ve finally had to turn it off. About three times a week I get ambushed when I make the mistake of putting some harmlessly generic phrase at the beginning of my search and Google puts ten of the likeliest continuations of that phrase at the end of it.
This might not be the most common form of brain damage in the world, but when that hits me in the eyes my brain assumes that I’m looking at an actual narrative, a paint-by-the-numbers outline of someone’s story. And then my stupid brain starts to colour it in.
“Should I”, space.
Stay or should I go. Call him. Break up with him. Shave my pubic hair. Get bangs. Upgrade to Windows 7. Get a divorce. Pop a blister. Break up with my boyfriend. Suddenly I am reading the story of some sad, slightly nerdy and unhappily married girl on the verge of doing something terribly self-destructive.
All I wanted to know was whether or not I should delete some machine from active directory before rebuilding it, and now I have a brain full of that. The worst part is that I’m 100% sure that person is real. She’s somewhere in the world right now trying to decide whether to upgrade her OS or slit her wrists, and all I want is to go back to not thinking about her. Whatever happens next, I’ll never know.
But maybe, whispers brain, maybe we can check.
“Did she”, space.
Mention my name? Die? Cheat on me? Mention my name, just in passing?
I admit that I might be uniquely broken this way but honestly, brain, shut up. At three o’clock in the morning I’m alone with what I’ve done. Isn’t that enough? I don’t need you conspiring with my machines to leave all this detritus piled up in there too. That is just patently unfair.