Podunk Meets Paradise

Musings from Central Idaho

Virtual Labor Day

Our family Labor Day tradition is to go to the highly urbanized mecca of Missoula, watch a little minor league baseball, and then go to the massive and sprawling Farmers Market on Saturday. By Saturday afternoon, we return to Podunk with some kind of produce that requires us to open a home canning sweat shop for the remainder of the long weekend.

This year, however, since the valley of Podunk is choked with wildland fire smoke, I thought we should stay home and add paint fumes to our hazardous air quality. And I would use modern technology to carry out my evil home interior plans.

The world as we know it has changed to the point that you can upload a picture of your (or my) shabby basement and try out new paint colors. After carefully reading the instructions on Valspar’s website, I realized I could also mask out the clutter that might appear in the uploaded photo — allowing me to clean and paint in one sitting.

I uploaded the photo and went to work using my computer mouse to painstakingly “tape” the walls. When I went to select a color from the magnificent palettes, Valspar wanted me to register. No problem, I thought, these geniuses have earned my registration. I was so pleased I even typed in my real information instead of reporting myself as Clotilda JamCracker. But then Valspar wanted me to crack a code before I could submit my real information. The letters were all smashed together and illegible really. Yes, by the third try I had to accept they were extremely illegible. I pressed the button that allowed me to crack the code using audio. I listened closely as the Navajo Windtalker mumbled something. “What was that?” I asked, still hopeful that I could return to the job of adding vibrant color to my pretend walls. I pressed the audio button again and the Windtalker gargled.
Screw Valspar. Your paint is shitty anyway.
Sherwin-Williams wanted my virtual business. Their Color Visualizer wanted me to use many of the techniques that the Valspar mongrels used, and this time I decided I would not mask out the hockey stick or the guitar case. Paint over ’em, what do I care? The registration window popped up. But Sherwin Williams didn’t need me to try to decipher a smashed alphabet. They realized that the Color Visualizer was a tool for good that should be used by all. I gladly offered my blood type, mother’s maiden name, and social security number to Sherwin Williams so I could continue to paint my shabby basement.
What? That email address already has a registration? How is that possible? That’s my email address! OK, calm down, we need to get some paint on these walls — use the backup email, clotildajamcracker@hotmail.com. Impossible! No one else has used that!
Go to hell, Sherwin!
Behr paints is a nice solid brand. Their website featured 3 easy themes: find your color, be inspired, start your project. Now this is what I’m talking about. I see the button that invites me to log in and start My Workbook, but I’m a little spooky for obvious reasons. Maybe I’ll just browse the design library and see how the other half lives. “Trends 2013 — A Portrait of Color” was just what the doctor ordered. Let’s just completely right off 2012 and start working with some futuristic color.
OK, the information is transferring from Behr.com. Still transferring. I thought I might take a quick shower and come back …  Mother effer the spinning circle of doom is keeping me from finding out what the Trends 2013 are!
Then I realized, maybe it’s me, not them. I typed in http://www.speedtest.net and found out that my download and upload speeds qualified me and my link to the outside world for an F when compared nationally and a D- on a global scale. In other words, people in Bangladesh can paint their houses virtually and I can’t.
Then I had a flashback of a conference with a speaker who pointed out that rural America’s lack of broadband amounted to corporate hostage-taking, or something like that (it was a flashback, not a full-on memory), and I hadn’t really signed on until now. Now that I couldn’t simulate painting my basement, I finally understood the injustice of it all.

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