The metadata of experience, the experience of metadata

I like to know where things stand. I like to know how things are progressing. I signed up for UPS My Choice and FedEx Delivery Manager and USPS Informed Delivery. I know when a package has been shipped to me, where it is at every moment as it hops across the country toward me, the projected window of its ultimate delivery, the fact of its delivery.

I know when there are exceptions. I know when the weather has turned inclement. I know the hubs, and I know the spokes.

When I myself require carriage, I order a car through Uber or Lyft, and in an instant I know my driver’s name, what he looks like, the model and color of the vehicle he is driving, and his rating (Vladislav, white Toyota Camry, 4.8). I see where he is on the map, how many minutes I must wait for his arrival. Sometimes his progress stalls, and my wait time increases by a minute, and this is painful to me.

I don’t want to be surprised. I prefer suffocation to surprise.

I give Vladislav five stars not because he deserves more than four stars but because I would like my life to be a series of five-star experiences.

I am standing in line in a building, waiting to get a matter taken care of, and in front of me is a sign requesting that I rate how I am feeling by pressing one of three emoji buttons. There is a smiling face and there is a frowning face, and between the two is a face with an expression of complete affectlessness. I choose the button in the middle, and immediately I feel my face go blank.

I like the fact that I can now check my credit rating without affecting my credit rating. I am no fan of the uncertainty principle.

I have come to realize that I learn more about other people by googling them than by meeting them and talking with them.

When a friend posts a new photo on Instagram, I give a lot of thought as to whether or not I should like it. These choices have effects on people, and they have ramifications for how people will judge me and my own offerings in the future. The likes I give, or withhold, say something about me as well as about the object or experience being rated. The generation of metadata should never be taken lightly.

Metadata is a kind of agony.

Everything that happens to me is time-stamped. My life is a series of transactions recorded in official ledgers. I am a clerk. I am a bureaucrat. I’m always on the job.

I know all the details. I know what just happened, and I know what happens next. Only the present escapes me.