Dear Uptight Seattleite, People with Macintosh products tend to love them. I understand that. But why do they expect the rest of us to care? Why, for example, would someone suddenly start telling me about what "apps" they just downloaded for their iPhone?Mac Attacked
Dear Attacked, I offer for you a sound and smell. First, get real quiet and...There! You hear that? It's the sound of your own listening! Been a while since you heard it? Your own quietly focused attention has a kind of peaceful hum, doesn't it? Sometimes learning to be patient with the people around you—even if what they're saying seems "irrelevant" or "boring"—brings its own rewards. That hum is one of them. I know this because, believe it or not, it's something I sometimes need help with, too. And while you're working on that—or rather, while we work on it together—I would like to relieve you of at least one worry: My own Mac products are doing pretty well. Sure, I've got a few nits to pick with my iPhone. Like the fact that Calendars came over from iCal on my main machine, but I can't seem to change the color scheme. Once I got used to that, though, it wasn't distracting at all. But the really good news is wafting your way right now in the form of the smell I promised you: The smell of victory in the air after my successful MacBook hard-drive upgrade. Goodbye OEM Hitachi 160GB unit; hello 320GB Seagate 7200 rpm drive! Dear Uptight Seattleite, Everyone here seems to have tats—on their ankles, calves, and backs. On the side of their necks. On their wrists, forearms, shoulders. I'm starting to feel out of it. Maybe I should wear turtlenecks and long pants at all times, to sort of imply that I have lots of tattoos?Upright Sea-tatless-ite
Dear Sea-tatless-ite, A lot of people get tattoos simply as a fashion thing. Not that there's anything wrong with that. It's just that I put a lot of thought into my own tattoo. It's the Chinese characters for "Peace" framed in an interlaced Celtic pattern. Call me crazy, but I think it's important to be open to wisdom from both East and West. Just doing my part to subvert the dominant paradigm, that's all. Not that this is something I talk about a lot. But every once in a while I'll casually roll up my sleeve and wait for someone to ask, "Hey, what's with that tattoo?" This can be a useful point of departure for elevating the conversation above the usual gossip about reality television programs. "The world becomes what you teach." I don't know who said that, but I definitely believe it. Of course, usually no one mentions my tattoo, and that's OK too. People aren't always as receptive as you'd like, and you have to roll with that. Bide your time. I should know—I've got plenty of practice. If they gave out patches for Time Biding, I'd make Eagle Scout for sure. Joe Bidin', that's what they call me. I'm in a positive place about it, though. I firmly believe that someone out there will pick up on my deeper intimations any day now. Dear Uptight Seattleite, Is it wrong to be sexually attracted to Sarah Palin? I get weak in the knees when I imagine her teaching me how to field-dress a moose.Addled Eddy
Dear Addled, First of all, there's no such thing as a "wrong" feeling, Eddy. Secondly, the specific feeling you describe is perfectly understandable. If you're a gentle, thoughtful person, you can be taken aback by a pushy, shameless person—especially when that person is of the opposite sex. And when she's as attractive (in a conventional way, at least) as Sarah Palin, you could easily find yourself thinking about all the ways she might be pushy and shameless. If I may be allowed to empathize with your feelings for a moment here, I can easily imagine that she really knows how to take charge, if you know what I mean. Her name has such a forceful, piercing quality to it, with its echoes of "impaling." And yet she's so womanly (again, purely in a conventional way). But I have to correct you on one point, at least: It's not that I want to help her field-dress a moose so much as I want to be the moose. Have a question for the Uptight Seattleite? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.