WHAT’S FOR DINNER IN SILICON VALLEY- The Progressive- 7/1-8/31/15

Apparently, I was not minding The Gap.

I was congratulating myself on my successful online order and the timely delivery of three white, ribbed tank tops. As I tried one on, I pulled it over my head. It was a good fit. New threads with just a touch of Lycra. Perfect! I continued to pull it on, all the way down to my knees. What the ….? I looked at the label. I had ordered three maternity tank tops. Size LTPT: last-trimester, possibly twins.

It is a mystery why I make my frequent tech gaffes so personal. I flame so embarrassingly it is as if I had absentmindedly rested an elbow on the red end-of-world button. My despair feels like the end of the world. I am told I can be steady, patient, almost bovine, at solving problems around the home—unless it is a tech problem. Then, frustration quickly leads to blind, murderous fury. It is a good thing we do not have guns in our home, or it would be a skeet shoot with Apples.

Instead of pitching an epic epi, I have learned to do some simple, appropriate things. The blinking teardrop on the printer means it is out of ink. I should replace the cartridge, not shake the holy HP out of it. Sometimes, the computer just won’t talk to the printer. Be patient. They will work it out. When in doubt (which I always am), shut down, unplug, breathe, count to ten, plug in, turn on, and then kick it again.

My dear, early-adopting tech-enabler galpal, without whom I could not turn on the TV, find Netflix, play music or get on the Facebook, often tries to intervene with the poorly timed reassurance, “It’s not you. It’s all based on logic and binaries. It’s just zero-one, zero-one all the way.”

Turns out it is not me. And it is not logic. It is Schmoylent all the way!

Schmoylent is a protein powder. It is all the rage in Silicon Valley. In one of the saddest articles I have read in The New York Times , or at least in the Styles section, busy software developers, coders and programmers describe food routines that involve chugging beige Schmoylent-laced smoothies. They cannot waste time on meals. They must keep working. Descriptions of their oral feedings convey all the dreary, tortured charm of rectal feeding.

Schmoylent, a nutrient powder, is mixed with water, and perhaps some nut oil. It tastes like a bland, gritty pancake batter. A batch can be quickly made, stored in ball jars in the fridge, and glugged throughout the week. One week of the stuff is certainly cheaper than one Silicon Valley lunch. Some tech companies have team-building Schmoylent cleanses. Sadly no one mentioned marijuana edibles. Schmoylent is definitely not in the munchies food group.

I have run my irony detector over the article several times but the needle hardly ever moves. Did the makers of Schmoylent‘s nutrient-packed powders, base their product’s name on the soy-and-lentil-based Soylent Green of the 1966 sci-fi novel Make Room! Make Room! ?

Or did they base it on the 1973 film adaptation, Soylent Green , in which the food supplement is made from human remains? It is not clear if ‘Soylent, Schmoylent,’ is said with a shrug or a wink.

The film ends with the dying protagonist urging others to spread the word that “Soylent Green is people.” I worry that Schmoylent is people, too. People who just chug along. People who cannot go out for a bite with friends at lunchtime. People who host dinner parties with sides of Schmoylent or add a daring dollop of peanut butter to the mix. They are the people who are programming computers, coding logarithms for incomprehensible websites, and designing health care portals.

I do not know if my tech flameouts would lessen if the hipsters of Brooklyn with their heirloom tomatoes, slow-food preciousness, craft breweries, and artisanal organic chocolates took up software development.
I could test my theory, but instead I am going to go make myself a nice beige humus sandwich, count my points, read my Mark Bittman cookbook, and decide what to make for dinner.