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Viewing single post of blog In Search of Silicon Valley

I don’t like to tempt fate so I confess that didn’t start my previous post as I should have. “I hope to Ieave tomorrow” would have been more accurate. Because I could not upload my negative Covid test (“unable to verify your test results”), and so could not check in online and spent a stressful night feeling in danger of being spat out by the system. Computer Says No. Would my adventure be over before it had even begun?

The help offered did not reassure. Check that the information you provided on upload accurately matches your government-issued ID and boarding pass, it said, slightly threateningly I thought, in bold. And what if it doesn’t? This felt to me like a technological version of what George Monbiot memorably termed (in relation to responsibility for climate change) MCB – Micro Consumerist Bollocks, ie the notion that the individual is responsible for the failings of the system. Responsibility is always pushed downwards to the individual and not upwards to those in power.

Happily, and in marked contrast, my whole journey from start to finish was a real pleasure, and I can’t help feeling that it was because it was overseen by Real Human Beings. “No problem Mr Good, let’s get you checked in” is somehow so much more reassuring, and now I know why all the flight attendants have such unfailingly upbeat manners (even if they are painted on for the occasion). It really does make a difference. Even the US Border official was unfailingly polite as he quizzed me about the purpose for my journey (“Business or pleasure?” he asked. I was momentarily thrown and replied with a verbal torrent about how I am interested about words, text and language. “That sounds very interesting” he replied before waiving me through after asking me to confirm that I wasn’t carrying more than 10,000USD.)

Amazingly, the in-flight entertainment helpfully included a primer in Roland Barthes’ Mythologies and the internet,

So I have arrived. Already I feel overloaded with new material: I have become hyper-conscious of the ways in which tech interfaces with non-tech and how much we now take that for granted.

I wonder what tomorrow will bring – check back in to find out!