I have always been charmed by the Roman Catholic Church's teaching regarding sainthood. For those of you who are unfamiliar with its lineaments, here is a quick review. The Church teaches that, generally speaking, even those whom the Lord God chooses, in his Infinite Mercy, to gather to his bosom after their death for an eternity of bliss must first suffer a rather long period of torment in Purgatory as a punishment for their many sins. However, there are a rare few whose lives on earth have been so exemplary that they are granted a reprieve from Purgatory and go directly to Heaven upon their passing, there to sit by the right hand of God. Since these few are even now in the presence of the Almighty, prayers directed to them by the faithful may be passed along to His Mightiness. Those granted this extraordinary free pass directly to heaven [not even passing Go and collecting $200] are called Saints. Hence the practice of praying not to God Himself but to one or another of the saints. Who are the saints? Well, strictly speaking, only God knows, but the Church has taken it upon itself to identify those possessing this extraordinary charisma. And, as Max Weber noted more than a century ago, since charisma is inevitably routinized, it comes down to an Office of the Holy See, staffed by Cardinals and such, rummaging about for evidence that prayers directed at unusually holy dead folks have worked miraculously, thereby demonstrating that they are indeed in Heaven, with God's ear, and thus are saints. Bureaucracy being what it is, these days it takes three authenticated miracles to be declared a saint.
We atheists are denied these blessings, of course, but I have always thought that the Cloud is for us a simulacrum of true Heaven, for there our thoughts, our tweets, our selfies, our e-mails, our verbal slips and deepest thoughts live forever, though our bodies may rot. IT Saints, I suppose, can expect to go straight to the Cloud on their physical passing. But I am afraid I am not one of their number, for I have, for the past week, been in IT Purgatory, and there is no sign that I shall be released anytime soon.
When I arrived in Paris, my computer worked but my Internet access did not. Several frantic trips to the local France Telecom shop, carrying my heavy computer and my "LiveBox," resulted in my old LiveBox being swapped out for a new one. I brought it home, and it did not work. I arranged for a "rendez-vous" [i.e., a home visit] with a FranceTelecom technician, who could not come until yesterday [for a fee of 115 Euros, or roughly $150!!]. Meanwhile, my computer died, and I went out and bought a new one, for almost a thousand dollars. It has a French keyboard, so the Q is where the A is supposed to be, and like that. I turned it on and thoughtlessly chose the option that changes the keyboard to an American keyboard, because the salesman told me I could buy little stickers to put on the keys so I know what I am typing. But no one has ever heard of these little stickers and I cannot figure out how to change the keyboard back. The technician came, two hours late, and after an hour, had managed to get the TV working, but not the Internet. He announced that the LiveBox was defective, and told me to take it back for a new one. I did so. I brought the new one home and could not get it to work. Meanwhile, my old computer had started working again [Why? Well you may ask, little grasshopper.]
I have a new rendez-vous arranged for Friday.
I amend my earlier religious observation. I am not in IT Purgatory. I am in IT hell, which means I am one of the damned, and there is no hope for me.
How am I writing this? I am at an Internet cafe fifteen minutes' walk from my apartment. I have purchased one hour of time, and a little counter in the corner of the screen tells me I have 10 minutes left.
How is Paris? Who knows?