Ranting

Please hold. Reset.

June 5th, 2020

Spacexstarship

(published in The Daily Memphian)

A few weeks ago, Grimes and Elon Musk named their new baby boy X Æ A-12. That’s pronounced ... who the hell knows how that’s pronounced. At exactly that moment, they won the Boy Most Likely To Be Called Buddy Award, and the much-coveted A Name Even Too Weird For California Award.

Upon discovering that a baby’s official name in California has to be alphabetical, the couple changed the name to X Æ A-Xii. That’s pronounced ...

Let’s ask mom, the Canadian singer, Grimes, who by the way, has the given name of Claire Elise Boucher. My guess is, baby Musk will be changing his name, too, at the first opportunity. On Twitter, she said, “Roman numerals. Looks better tbh (to be honest).” Pronounced, she explained on Instagram, “I mean, it’s just, the letter X. And then, A.I. Like how you said the letter A then I.”

Or we could ask dad, Elon, as podcast host Joe Rogan did, “I mean it’s just X. And then, the letter Æ is, like, pronounced ‘Ash’ ... and then A-12, A-12 is my contribution.”

So, tbh, neither mom nor dad knows how the hell to pronounce this kid’s name either.

Last Friday, as I was writing this, a rocket ship designed by the company Elon Musk heads, SpaceX, was about to blast off and carry two NASA astronauts to the space station, the first trip from American soil in nine years. A cool gull-winged all-electric Tesla delivered the astronauts to the launch site. Try parking that thing anywhere without banging the doors into an SUV next to you. The real mission is to dump enough satellites ... Musk Starlink satellites ... in space to give us all the gaming and digital viewing options we can stand in the coming years, and to give new Daddy Elon an edge in the satellite space race.

Xaiasha12 – Buddy  – should be so proud.

Oops. Launch scrubbed because of weather. Please hold.

All this is the perfect coronavirus, other-worldly, you-can’t-make-this-up, strange-time-in-which-we-live story.

Because my modem died that morning. Belly up. Power but no broadband.

“Please hold,” the pleasant recorded AT&T voice said, after the phone number the live AT&T rep gave me failed, 20 minutes into my adventure.

I can’t go online on my computer, on my iPad or my phone, and my wife can’t do that on her computer either, or her Fire or her phone. After several attempts at resuscitation, we’ve given up on the modem ... now affectionately referred to as the POS ... and we’ve actually been to the AT&T store, knowing full well that would be a worthless trip, but, hey, it got us out of the house. It was a worthless trip, but if Nora hadn’t grabbed me by the elbow, I might have walked out of there with the cool double-charger thingee I was looking at.

So, I’m back at my desk awash in first world problems – on hold on my iPhone, following the Musk SpaceX-USA almost adventure on LTE and checking references on my iPad. And I’m using my 2020 computer as a 1990 word processor, musing about how absolutely none of this would have been even remotely possible so little time ago, or would have mattered.

At 45 minutes in, “We’re checking your connections now. Please hold.”

The snapshot today has been of where we are, or should I say screenshot.

Covid-19 itself, or being stranded by it. What the loss of a wireless connection can do. What a change in the weather can stop. Why people who would name a child whatever that name is should be trusted with the future of space. When did our astronauts become a sideshow and our country a sidekick in an eccentric egomaniac’s private ambitions? How could Æ possibly be pronounced Ash?

An hour in, “Sir, there is no power to the AT&T connection box. I’m checking technician scheduling. Please hold.”

Wait. Have we checked the box?

Turns out something tripped an outlet on the screened porch, the porch where the AT&T box is plugged in. A two-second fix with a simple push of the reset button. All’s well.

I cancelled the technician, apologized to the modem, returned to the internet, and found order in my life. The next day, last Saturday, SpaceX pushed the reset button and had a successful launch.

And it’s none of my business what they name that baby anyway.

I’m a Memphian, and it’s amazing what a simple reset can do for your attitude.

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