I sat at my computer this afternoon, and a message appeared:
“This website would like to send you push notifications.”
The pop-up window gave me two options: Allow. Don’t Allow.
For someone like me, this was an empowering moment. I slog through most days feeling like a hapless chess piece in the Game of Life, so to be assigned a decision of this magnitude was almost overwhelming.
After all, ours is a society in which we’ve surrendered all control. Alarm clocks bark at us to wake up, Outlook calendars dictate our schedules, and any sliver of free time must be salvaged from the tattered scraps remaining at the end of the day (after we watch the latest episode of The Walking Dead, of course).
But here was an opportunity for me to make a decision — a decision whose outcome could engender larger-than-life consequences and tear the very fabric of the space-time continuum.
Well, not really, but such is the seriousness I bring to all my decision-making. You should see me trying to order at a restaurant. (“I can come back if you’re not ready,” the server usually says, trying to smile through gritted teeth.)
I had to pause for a moment to think. My deliberations were extensive. The website wanted to send me notifications. That was its intent, and an earnest one at that, based on the message’s pleasant and down-to-earth tone.
But would I allow it?
Allow. I love that verb. “Allow” is when a parent lets her kid stay up late on a school night, or when a woman condescends to let me buy her a drink (as long as I promise not to speak to or otherwise engage her — which, I admit, is where my allure begins to unravel).
Being asked if I would “allow” the push notification instilled me with a sense of authority — and I have to confess, it felt good.
Which made me think: We need push notifications for real-life situations, not just computer applications. Push notifications would allow us to exert some control over the seemingly random events that shape our sad and miserable lives (made more sad and miserable by all those women who won’t talk to me, even when I’ve bought them a drink).
- “Your boss wants to assign you a massive project on Friday afternoon that will require working the entire weekend.”
- “Your computer hard drive wants to crash, which will result in seven years of data being wiped out in a single fell swoop. Oh, and none of your backup solutions will work, but that’s only because you were too cheap to implement any.”
Nope. Don’t allow.
- “You want to sleep with the promiscuous ugly chick downstairs, but only because you’re drunk and desperate and can’t find a date for Saturday night.”
Allow … but I’ll need a backup solution in case I catch the crabs and require a disaster recovery plan.
- “That promiscuous chick confronts you three weeks later claiming she’s pregnant, and she’s identifying you as the father … probably because she knows you have a stable job and low self-esteem.”
- “She won’t go away, and she knows where you live. Oh, and you didn’t catch crabs, thank goodness — but you did catch the clap.”