“Payment declined, please contact your card issuer”.

There are quite a few messages that bring you information you did not want to know, while also increasing your frustration point to ‘nose bleed, migraine inducing, kick a cat (any cat)’ level. This payment declined message is just one of the many. 

It’s right up there with ‘your rail replacement bus service will leave from platform f*cked’. It is also up there for frustration with finding that you have bought salt and vinegar crisps instead of cheese and onion, because you forgot the manufacturer switched the bag colour quite some time ago but, to you, green is always cheese and onion. My other favourite in this delightful sack of information shite is ‘Toilet Closed’ just as your ‘turtle’s head’ is popping out to ascertain whether it is safe to venture abroad. 

In this digital paradise of the 21st century, these messages increasingly arrive via the miracle of technology, as they were probably designed to do…by weirdos in California brought up on a diet of pulp TV, coca-cola, digital porn and absent parenting. 

So, I believe there is chap or two in a place called Silicon Valley who have decided that our lives were not complete, and so they invented Apps. Silicon Valley, contrary to some wishful thinking,  is not the place where you can find breast implants to suit all tastes and sizes. Rather it is a strange place far away somewhere beyond the Tamar. It is populated mostly by pony tailed, goatee bearded, pale faced men in T shirts and jeans who have only a passing relationship to personal hygiene rather than a fully engaged jojoba infused one. They spend their lives in the dark, in between wanks unblinking at computer screens, as their binary minds flit between a 0 and a 1. 

I’m not being deliberately sexist in excluded women from this technological cesspit, I’m sure there are a few of them working as App developers who are as obsessed by numbers, logic and certainty as the boys are, and whose empathetic understanding, emotional intelligence and raw human feeling have taken a bus to a permanent holiday elsewhere. But this obsession with humanity free technology does seem to be a male preserve. I’d not be surprised if the boys wouldn’t be happier with an ‘emotion free’ robot woman sex bot with pre set and programmable wanking skills than a real female human being. If they could design one with a prostate ticking function, even I might be interested. 

The tech boys of Silicon Valley’s preferred answer to any question about the universe, human relationships or haute couture is either ‘Yes or No’. Nuance, subtlety or even common, human experience of everyday matters such as car parking, passes them by unnoticed and ignored like a pork sausage at a bar-mitzvah. They’ve more chance of cracking the enigma code than understanding common human experiences such why a woman might like to wear make up or indeed why women choose to get their breasts pumped up with bouncy cleavage inducing plastic. Mind, I’m not sure I completely understand the latter but I do accept it might be fun. Women are to them a source of mystery inflamed tumescence matched only by a total lack of skill, knowledge and understanding which forces them into an incomprehensible retreat when confronted by a living example of femininity who might ask awkward questions about feelings, empathy and sex. 

‘Yes or No’ is a fine option to questions such  “would you like an enema?” But it falls short as the only option at a candle lit first date restaurant dinner. Your dinner date is likely to poke her fork in your eye if you continue to answer questions about your family, interests and previous girlfriends with only Yes or No. This binary response is also totally inadequate when confronting even the most basic of human tasks such as weasel tinkering, soap dodging and tiddlywinks. Each requires complex cognitive processing beyond the simple if/then or either/or binary alternatives of the Silicon Valley App designer mind. 

We of course now have an App for everything thanks to the dedication of this small army of post modern hippy techno-incels whose stage of emotional development is still in nappy stage allowing them to defecate their values and assumptions loosely upon the rest of us. 

In the olden days when life was a simple choice between staying alive or being convicted of being a witch, old money served as a primary means of transaction. A few copper or gold coins could purchase anything from donkey’s milk, a bag of turnips or the Throne of England (if you threw in the odd murder). This pertained right up until recently. Sure, donkey’s milk is rarely on offer, turnips are still in fashion and the throne of England is still secured by a vast fortune starting with an expensive education, but cash got you through the day, even if there was no ‘phone signal’. 

Take parking your horse. 

Simple, just ride up to the pub, tie up and go. Maybe you needed to grease the palms of the local scallies to keep an eye on your horse rather than leading it away to the dog meat factory. What you did not need to do was ensure your phone connects to the internet through something called ‘mobile roaming’ ensuring of course one’s ‘data bundle’ was large enough. Life was simpler.

Parking Apps are supposed to take away the stress of calamities such as not having enough spare change. Yet they don’t cater for those possessing the wit of an overcooked ring of fried calamari so that App instructions appear as dense and as impenetrable to interpretation as the technical manual of the Large Hadron Collider. The yes/no, 0 and 1 approach to the complex algorithms running these Apps have to be carefully designed to take in every eventuality of human fuckwittery using it. And yet fuckwittery often trumps technical analysis, largely because no amount of technical analysis can predict just how deep is the well of fuckwittery human beings can draw from. One snag completely overlooked by the Tech bros is that their Apps have to work in places like Redruth Town centre, where a mobile phone signal vacuum rivals a black hole for sucking all light into it, preventing its escape.

Back to parking. 

The theory is straight forward…open the App (assuming you have already downloaded it), enter the location code, decide how long you want to park for, enter your car registration number, ensure you have a valid payment method and press ok. Then through the miracle of electricity and radio waves (?) you can continue the day safe in the knowledge you car will not be towed away.

I am 100% confident of the process as I walk away from the parking meter to catch a train to Plymouth with about 20 minutes to spare. Nothing could really be easier especially if one has tried it before. I walk across the car park not quite with the confident swagger of the man who absolutely knows the God owes him a living, but I am pretty sure paying for parking will not cause a psychotic episode or a personal emotional crisis resulting in finding oneself curled into a ball in the police cell covered in blood, kebab and truncheon bruises. 


Put together a lack of mobile signal strong enough in that part of Redruth from car park to station, then blocked access to the Wifi at the station until I rejoin with a new password/username combination, intermittent connections on the train, a fraud signal to my bank regarding the card payment, waiting until I could speak to a human being and clear the credit card for use whilst also trying to ensure the VPN is connected, tunnels, an increasing feeling of hypertension strong enough to burst an aortic aneurysm (should I have one`), and it takes until the train is pulling into St Austell before I get confirmation that I have paid for parking. This took about 35 minutes from the moment I walked confidently away from the parking meter. 

I only hope that the App, and the technology supporting it, that sets off Putin’s Nuclear missiles is just as bad, forcing him to give up pressing the button and instead go looking for donkey’s milk,   Turnips and a witch to burn. I also hope Putin has more options than Yes/No when deciding whether to turn most of the world into molten rock and ash. If he does decide to press, I hope  his first targets are Silicon Valley Twats. 

Mind, if he finds himself in Redruth he’ll be out of signal.

Published by Lance Goodman

Freelance writer, bon vivant and all-round good oeuf.

4 thoughts on “Apps

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