Irked by electronics, Athena throws a laptop tantrum, while Zeus wonders if Brexit can fix-it.
‘They shouldn’t be allowed to do this! Interfering nonsensical busybodies – that’s what they are,’ Athena slammed her laptop shut and threw it onto the Posturepedic chaise longue – the Gods’ latest acquisition from Ikea.
‘Who are “they” and what have they been doing?’ Hera asked mildly, looking up from the bowl of potatoes she was cutting into cubes for a dish of patatas bravas she hoped might tempt Zeus away from his cholesterol-heavy intake of greasy chips. ‘And should you be treating an expensive piece of equipment like that?’
‘Your mother’s right,’ Zeus interjected. ‘That fancy sofa cost two arms and a leg, and the saleswoman said that the tapestry cushions are hand-sewn silk.’
The two goddesses ignored him.
‘They…’ spluttered her daughter ‘…they are the people at Microsoft who keep interfering with what I’m trying to do. Superimposing pop-ups on the text I’m writing, telling me to buy some service or other… or warning me not to switch off my computer because they are updating it. I don’t want it updated! Whenever they do, I can never find any of the files I want. Brussels are making such a fuss about personal data protection, isn’t it time the EU zombureaucrats did something to prevent these intrusions into one’s personal space?
Athena’s dedication to her laptop and exploration of the Internet had been the start of a new opus of Greek legends, shaped during the Olympian gods’ first year on Gibraltar’s Rock. Although Hebe, Dionysus and Hermes were also enthusiastic loggers-in, their enthusiasms were for Youtube and its free access to songs and videos reflecting the more ridiculous antics of the mortals – folk to whom they were becoming increasingly similar, much to their parents’ dismay.
Athena, on the other hand, Googled to widen her knowledge, and frequently was surprised to discover, despite millennia of history in her capacious memory, how little she really knew. ‘The wise Athena’ the historian Homer had called her, but exposed to the corridors of Cyberspace, for the first time she wondered whether the epithet was merited.
The problem with acquired knowledge was that she was eager to share it with the rest of her family – and the rest of her family were becoming increasingly irritated by the cataracts of facts and figures. Even the ever-tolerant Hera had been heard to mutter ‘I wish we hadn’t bought that Apple Mac…’
Zeus was particularly unimpressed – not so much by his daughter’s enthusiastic acquisition of knowledge, but her determination to share was not only boring, but it also underlined his the gaps in his grasp of science, mathematics, and pretty much anything you could think of.
‘That’s where mankind has gone wrong’ the Father of the Gods offered, turning the conversation towards a subject which poked constant thorns into both his feet. ‘Electronics should never have been invented – they should have remained in the realms of what mortals call ‘Sci-Fi’. It’s quasi-mathematical science on cannabis-laced steroids… zeros and ones in an algorithm that’s nothing more than an algebraic muddle. [In the sphere of mathematics, even the Euclidean sort, letters and arithmetical numbers were as one to Zeus.]
‘And see what it’s brought them to – a world of talking maps, without which they are unable to find their way from Algeciras to Zabal; of mobile phones which have become the favoured means of conversation; of mindless hand-held games that provide no exercise either for the body or the mind. I could go on…’
‘Yes, so you could, and will,’ whispered Apollo, who had knocked off early in his daily chase of the world around the sun in sympathy with the French air control officers who were on strike – yet again – making chaos of international flight timetables.
But it was mobile phones and the mortal obsession with them which most infuriated not only Zeus but most of his brood.
‘Walk up or down Main Street and every second person will have a mobile phone to his ear or an electronic appliance in his or her hand,’ said Poseidon from the balcony of their Greg Butcher penthouse flat, leased at an exorbitant price, and the cash for which still needed to be found – though so far Artemis’s smile and careless display of her curves had managed to keep the male estate agents at bay.
‘They’re so busy concentrating on their gadgets that they’ll bump into you, or even knock you down without a second thought, let alone an apology’ the sea god continued. ‘They’re even worse than the new mothers who parade the prams of newborn in street-wide groups blocking everyone’s passage. They’re almost as bad as the window-shopping tourists. Fabian should do something about it… why should we locals suffer?!
Poseidon had met the Chief Minister at a cocktail reception in the port, spoken to him briefly about the annoyance of a man-made reef, and had name dropped him into conversations ever since.
Zeus winced at the words ‘we locals’, yet another indication of his offspring’s identification with mortals and their morals. He had his own code, and his offspring should follow it. Not for the first time the Father of the Gods pondered the wisdom of their move from Mount Olympus to Gibraltar’s Rock. There were many advantages, he admitted in thoughtful moments, not least the marvellous British invention of fish and chips, but electronics were for the nerds.
Perhaps Brexit would fix it; it was supposed to fix almost everything else – from fishing quotas to unwanted immigrants…
Which exposed yet another area of celestial ignorance.