Failed by Technology

Now… Since you are reading this, and probably other blogs too, I think we can safely infer that you belong to that category of people who get their secret kick out of hearing how miserable other people’s lives are.

Don’t pull that innocent face: you know who you are.

And I don’t blame you.

I’m with you on that one: sure, fuzzy pictures of playful kittens might bring some warmth to even the most hardened seaman‘s heart… But only the news that some stranger at the other end of the world is having a really shitty day can bring true, lasting, peace of mind. Why do you think I have my PubSub keyword watchlist set to include “I cut because my life sucks” and “suicidal thoughts”: you never know when somebody’s unhappiness is gonna come handy to reinforce your own precarious sense of happiness…

With that knowledge, allow me to humbly feed your shadenfreude with this little story of tragi-comical woes in the land of technology…

We are talking movie material here.

OK, not the kind of movie I’d go see. But definitely the kind talentless Hollywood hacks can come up with, while burping their brunch at some trendy LA eatery…

In fact, such people would probably pitch the story as Hackers meets Romantic Comedy. Or something equally scary. Note: by Romantic Comedy, these people usually mean the kind of movie where some sloppy schmuck effectively proves he is way unfit for procreation during an hour and a half, but finally finds last-minute redemption and forgets to be an ass just long enough to con the female lead into marrying him (the part about the ensuing years of domestic abuse and multiple extramarital affairs is usually left out of the plot).

Yea, so it doesn’t sound so fun after all, but here we go anyway:

A few days ago, I was to meet up with a friend, on our way to another meeting point, whence a whole pack of us were planning to hit the clubs and keep it house’ing until the early morning.

Being famous on all five continents for my pathological tardiness, I had very safely given a tentative time to H. and told her I’d call her up a bit before to confirm. Good thing I did so, because due to some last-minute emergency (can’t remember if I had forgotten to do my nails or discovered a crease in my freshly pressed silk shirt), I ran a bit behind schedule.

And dutifully sent her an email (on her keitai) with some advance notice to give her a new meeting time.

Long story somewhat shorter: she calls 50 minutes later from our meeting point (Shinjuku station) asking where I am, to which I reply that I’m kinda on the way, but has she read my email? yes, she has, it’s ok, she’ll wait but please hurry… About an hour later, and therefore only a few minutes late on my corrected E.T.A., a small logistic screw-up makes me miss her at the station and forces me to call her for the 24th time of the night to figure a way to regroup and set sail for the party.

That’s where the usual mild-tempered H. completely blows up and launches in a diatribe about my careless behaviour that quickly escalates and ends up on some rather negative note. I believe there were mentions of 本当に大嫌い as well as Fuck You (in English in the original text).

The whole thing was, of course, unpleasant, and rather hard to fathom, since, after all, it surely wasn’t my fault that she had decided to disregard my mail and show up an hour early.

Fast forward a few days. About 2 hours ago to be exact.

Guess what shows up in my mailbox like an unannounced FedEx messenger who just survived a plane crash on a deserted island?

It starts something like that:

Subject: Undelivered Mail Returned to Sender

Allow me to draw a clearer picture for the lesser technology-oriented among you (you make about 4% of my readership, according to the last focus group): that email I had sent, reading “let’s meet at 11:30 blablabla” that she had ostensibly gotten and read. Well, it never got there. And of course, it never occurred to me to check which email she had last received.

She had in fact, very good reasons to be pissed, while at the same time there was little I could have done about it.

See, the icing on the sashimi here, is not only that I was handed my ass over the phone by an irate Japanese girl who sounded like she would gleefully remove my internal organs with a rusty katana (that happens at least once a week). The real kicker comes from the fact that I came out an absolute careless asshole to a friend, know exactly why, and have no way to ever lift that stupid misunderstanding. I mean: I’d sooner tell her that I was busy snatching obachans’ purses to pay for my night out, than try to explain how an error in my SMTP server configuration is in fact responsible for that apparently blatant disregard of basic politeness…

Oh, and if this pathetic adventure doesn’t manage to get at least a smile out of you, try to remember that the above happened entirely in that language commonly referred to on the street as: Davanese… A Western variant of that quaint language spoken in Tokyo.
Remove every other word and randomly switch the rest: you should get a better idea of how it actually sounded.


  1. “Absolute Faith”? Oh I have absolutely *no* faith in technology whatsoever…
    Though it’d be nice if I could rely on email a teeny bit… I mean, email’s not working, what’s next? that’s doom impending.

    Well, anyway, dug deeper and realized that’s probably one thing I must add to my arm-length book of griefs against that low lifeform known as spammers… Since it seems I owe them the privilege of having been added to every blacklists known to webdom… At least, must be doing something right to piss off these guys…

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