Held Captive

I couldn’t move.  Stuck.  Captive.  There wasn’t a gun or restraints involved.  Think more like being in a dentist’s or a barber’s chair.  I was a captive audience, unable to move.  The conversation started with the seemingly benign comment from Rueben (name changed for obvious reasons) that he was no longer a Democrat.  No stranger to political conversations and unable to leave, I figured “What the Hell” and bit.  “Gee, why not?”

His first issue, seemingly the most important grievance in his life at that moment, was transgendered Americans demanding acceptance.  Actually, he was agitated about gays, Lesbians, and the transgendered almost equally.  I asked how any of this had any impact on him.  We both confirmed that we had professional relationships with people who identified as G, L, and T.  He even admitted that he personally liked some of them.  But, he wanted me to know that none of this was natural.  I reminded him that the definition of natural is fluid.  At one point not so long ago, marriage between Jews and Christians wasn’t considered natural and interracial marriages were illegal.  At that point he moved on to COVID and the overblown coverage of January 6th.   Though he supposedly doesn’t watch television, he was surprisingly fluent in the most common conspiracy theories.  I’ll spare you the details.

It seemed twice as long as the half an hour I was there.  Reuben is really good at what he does, which has nothing to do with his politics or his opinions.  I just don’t know that I need to subject myself to another visit.  And if I don’t return, he will just complain that he is another victim of the cancel culture.

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“Mr. Cunix, I will need to get my supervisor involved. May I put you on hold?  This may take between 5 and 10 minutes.  I am very sorry.”

I had already invested 20 minutes on this call to this insurance company’s agent helpline.  This was the only way to solve a big problem.  Now I was stuck.  Captive.  I couldn’t move.  I had to be available whenever the service rep or her supervisor returned.  That could be in a few minutes or I might be bounced around, like I was a couple of weeks ago, for the next hour.

With time to kill I clicked on Facebook.  My longtime Facebook page was hacked last September.  Through a combination of errors and Facebook’s decision to not have human tech support, I’m locked out of my page.  I may never get it back.  So I created an access page, a mere shadow of my former one.  The first posts I saw involved food.  I like food.  One friend/client is a well-known foodie who posts both pictures and recipes!  There were other posts about dogs and grandchildren.  I was five minutes into my wait.  The next posts were neither calming nor entertaining.

Since this new site has so few friends, I see everything each of them posts or even the comments they make on others.  One of my friends is somehow, unexplainably, connected to Congressman Jim Jordan, someone she truly despises.  Every one of his self-serving posts demands a response from her.  She comments and others agree, or more commonly since it is his followers, others disagree and then attack her.  She, of course, responds.  This may go on for hundreds of posts.  This was one of the first threads I encountered.  The second thread was just as long and contentious.  Somehow this other friend routinely accesses posts from his liberal or Democratic friends.  He can’t ignore these posts.  He must share his personal, religion-inspired opinions.  Subtlety and nuance are not part of his vocabulary.  He attacks and is quickly counter-attacked.  He doesn’t comprehend why everyone in the thread doesn’t immediately renounce his/her previously mistaken beliefs and quickly accept his!  Surely it is a moral failure or an unwillingness to accept Truth that is blocking their conversions.

You might view one of them, possibly both of them, as trolls.  Don’t judge so harshly.  In truth, they are captive, unable to escape.  Social media has chained them to their computers, addicted to the conflict.

The service rep only had me on hold for 15 minutes or so. The problem was solved.  And I was no longer captive.  For now.



Picture – Held Captive – David L Cunix