Glass Menagerie: Friendship

June 06 [Thu], 2013, 16:07
by| III. In which I become a Glasshole, alienate a borough and make a friend

Brooklyn, June, 2013. New plan. Im not easing into jack, . My skull is now perpetually lashed to Google Glass, and Im like a kitchen renovated with a lapis-lazuli backsplash. Im upgraded. Massive resale bump.

Ive bought in wholesale. If were chatting, Im filming you, and then Im sharing that video with everyone with an optical nerve. Sharing and sharing and sharingwith my boss Chris, my editor Jason, my mom and my boyfriend and my kids and my real friends on Google+, whoever they are.

As I glide along the shimmering now-unreal sidewalks of Brooklyn, I move like a middle-aged Neo or a new X-Men mutant in mom sneakers and bleachy gray hair. My wetware brainand my hair, my cheeks, my teethhas all gone digital. I am become digital, the sharer of worlds. Glassographer of the universe.

I am become nobody, I am become a , I am become , I am become .

Let me tell you how I got my mojo backor maybe just got my first trace of mojo ever, or whatever gall it takes to make a person use the word mojo. My retro neighborhood in Brooklyn, which styles itself as Americas first suburb, finds no love lost between it and Google Glass. Like Gucci loafers, Google Glass is a badge of chumpery in this hipster borough, where Facebook is thought coarse and the Internet is another genetically-modified organism to be banished from locavore restaurants.

So what I feel is alienatedand, worse, like Ive become a Big Tech stooge, right here in maker-obsessed Brooklyn, where people prefer ukuleles to apps, cycling to tweeting, and fermenting to coding. And, OK, so those preferences sound kind of healthy, but the beards-and-small-hats steampunk-itude that pervades this borough has turned me non grata on my own block.

Not a single local friend or even passerby had evinced the slightest interest in the new gadget. In fact, theyve been treating me like a reality-show also-ran: worth being anti-gawked at, turned away from, shunned. Everyone over ten, in fact, seems faintly disgusted by Google Glass, and seemingly by me, too, ever since Glass and I started running around together.

Until today, that is. A turning point, or pivot, or crossroads: Im walking along, buying coffee at a new joint in vain hopes of finding comrades at last. I was in a nadir. People were avoiding me because of the loser-poser Google headgear and the madwoman muttering. When all of a sudden, all of a sudden

Is that Google Glass? said a man who turned out to be making a movie on Smith Street. He then, for all the world, said something like Far out! or Outtasight! which clicked me instantly and euphorically into the hippie-moon-landing headspace Id been seeking ever since I got the thing. He tried it. He liked it. He made a video. I couldnt stop smiling. It was like watching someone take Ecstasy, as the hologram materialized before his eye, and he oohed and ahhed. A cute girl in good makeup, florals and hipster glasses walked up.

Is that Glass? she said. Oh my god! Can I try?

We were off and running. I kid you not: Before I got my Google Glass back for good, on the slow-heating morning sidewalk on tree-lined Brooklyn, that white titanium totem had been passed around to these two, and then two more. One said hed been dying to try it.

Heaven! As we voiced our stratospheric hopes for Google Glass, and how it was just like the iPhone in the early days, and how everyone would come around, we expressed not a micron of small-minded fear of surveillance or the apocalypse or whatever. Our little chattery, exhilarated clique seemed a world apart from the dour ukulele-playing pickle-making haters strolling by. We all agreed Glass was awesome. Someone may have said awesomesauce. And then we had to disperseto get to the future, which was beckoning us over to try something completely new, in the voice of Timothy Leary, high as a kite, maybe dead, with a fistful of new pills, in a far-off Marin County hot tub.

One of the developer dudes, Andrew Unger, walked me home. Unger started Lifebookera hit spa and beauty services appand now hes looking for Glassertunities. We traded ideas. He riffed on the Singularity. I stopped caring about the former friends of mine strolling by, no doubt deciding we were Glassholes. Maybe we werebut. . .well, but nothing! I explain myself no more! No more irritating reach for elusive fact or reason! Thats for old media, criticism and reviews, with all their arguments and resistance to progress! I am pure light!

Ungers going to do big things with Glass. Me too. Its charging again, on the little table next to my hairbrush, but wait till Im back out theremaking more videos, sharing them on Google+, having a biological-technological ball. I know the Google guy said ease into it, and man I hope Im not getting carried away but Im sure its fine! And if you dont get my references, to Oppenheimer or Emerson or Keats or Ray Kurzweil, just say, OK, Glass, Google Transparent Eyeball.

Oh, but you dont have. . .oh, I see. Would you like to try mine?*Previously, in the Glass Menagerie:
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