Wasting Time Online

Nov 20

How Much Time Do You Waste Online?

What a loaded question! Personally, I may take the fifth.

Woman_computerDoes wasting time include all the trolling I do on Facebook attempting to answer my Italian relatives about how I’m doing after the hurricane in New York? Or reading the rants and ravings of my previous Italian teacher who’s beginning to sound like the love child of Ann Coulter and Bill O’Reilly? Maybe he was always a right wing fanatic, but it was lost in translation. (Everything sounds better in Italian anyway.) Reading his posts is like watching a train wreck: if you’ve seen one train wreck, you’ve seen ’em all, as my friend John Sposato is fond of saying, but you can’t help looking anyway.

Lest you think that all my time wasting has to do with Italians, although that’s a pleasant enough thought, I have an impressive list of other things I spend far too much time on online.

Checking the weather. Repeatedly. If I’m going on a trip, I want good weather, reasonably enough. But if the report is not good, I go back to it many, many times, hoping that they’ve changed their minds. I check the different services: The Weather Channel, Accuweather Forecast and of course, Weather Underground because that name sounds like they might be open to a little negotiation. I sneak up on them in the middle of the night, hoping to catch them off guard. It never works.

Last trip, to Paris (poor me), the report was miserable and the weather was magnifique.
Go figure. The rain poncho I packed was useful for the boat tour, though, so I guess all that weather-worrying wasn’t a total waste.

I hate to waste time.


I don’t mean that I hate being idle or goofing off. Love that. (See: Nothing Doing!)
But I hate and despise spending time on things I’m not enjoying and not getting paid for. In fact, lots of these time-drainers involve actually spending money. The noive!

My most recent adventure was with (ominous music here) the beloved U. S. Postal Service . . .


StampsHey, all I wanted was some classy holiday stamps. For my classy holiday cards. (A girl has to maintain a certain image, doesn’t she?) Buying stamps at a post office in Manhattan, or perhaps anywhere in the universe, is a nightmarish experience you do not want to repeat. Even the first time.

The last time I stood on line was for wedding stamps (Yes, Virginia, there are such things), and I nearly passed out, literally, waiting my turn. At one point, I actually sat down. On the floor. A guard came around, looking bored, and quickly left when I said I was just feeling a little dizzy. I could have expired right there and then for all she cared.

The worst part about the lines at the Post Office is that you may end up on the wrong one, or they won’t have the stamps you want, or some damn thing. Tell you this: getting the wedding bell stamps was the last time I ventured into that unhallowed place.

Getting stamps on line is easy. Or should be. After the dizzy/disinterested guard incident, I’ve done it many times. But today was special. Maybe the site was overloaded, maybe the online planets weren’t lined up, maybe I typed in an “o” when it should have been an “O” or some other unpardonable crime, but I spent nearly an hour trying to get holiday stamps.

It said that I didn’t answer the security questions correctly. But I did, I did! I was born in Brooklyn, I swear it, and yes, yes, my favorite food is chocolate. Maybe I had originally put my birthplace as New York (I sometimes do that), or maybe chocolate doesn’t count as a food. Impossible! Next thing they’ll tell me is that hot dogs do not contain all the basic food groups. Nonsense. They have protein, carbs and a vegetable-like substance if you add sauerkraut. Mustard must have some nutritional value, mustn’t it?

Anyway, I changed my security questions and finally ordered the stamps. I think. I’ll get back to you on that. When I get them.

“Special Offers” You Can’t Refuse

Another thing I waste a lot of time on is clicking through on “special offers” for huge discounts for stores like BraSmyth, The Gap and L’Occitaine (which I’ll never learn how to pronounce, or spell either: I think it’s L’Occitane), filling my shopping cart with goodies only to find that there’s a catch: you have to spend $199 or more, or only certain items are discounted, or they don’t have my size after all. I just love it when they tell you that if you spend $4 more (nothing on the site costs $4), so I end up buying a bar of pink soap for $6 that turns out to be, on receipt, the size of a peach pit.

GoogleGlassOh, well. I do so love the Internet, especially Google.

At the Thanksgiving table Thursday (and Friday: don’t ask), I will give a special shout out to Google and the art of being able to fact check on the spot, thus settling family arguments before they become family feuds.

I can’t begin to tell you the things I’ve learned on Google. Oh, wait a minute. Yes I can. And I did. It was a post I wrote (and you can read) called Existentialism at the Cheapie Nail Salon.

And that is not a waste of time at all.


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