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March 17 – Saints and Sinners by Coaching Detective

Time for a Saint?

3.00. The small apartment in Östermalm was dark and silent. The murderer could not sleep. Attacked by just as dark clouds of dreams. The same content as almost every night and the reason for all the thorough plans. Those dreams must stop once and for all. There was no longer an inner debate if or not it was a good idea – it was the only idea…
Only the other day some personal development company shouted that “it is never too late to have a good childhood!” brought on the instant response: “Yes it is!” No way to re-live that time again in a better way. The die was surely cast back then and only a snake eye was seen and sometimes more than one. Those slithering snakes all over, penetrating everywhere leaving a mark of filth and vomit that never seemed to go away during that day and exploding every night making sleep impossible and a need to change sheets and pillows at least once a night. In short – it has to stop now…To the outside world everything seemed OK. Only the amount of psychofarmaca in boxes everywhere could give reality away. The inner self was hidden behind a Darth Vader mask of indifference. Unfortunately there was no real possibility to create a light sabre even if that symbolically would have been nice. The murderer smiled knowing who would get a close encounter with “The Force”, making them say goodbye for good.

Realizing the absurdity of reflecting on old SF movies three o’clock in the morning a trip into the bathroom getting another Propavan to get by for another 6 hours. It was Saint Patrick’s Day but time for this Sinner to strive for some sleep – or at least go down trying…

6.30. Isabella’s alarm clock was singing “ Time to say Goodbye” this morning. She had become tired of the old buzzer and had bought a clock which could be set to start playing some radio channel or even a CD instead. She had found a radio channel that played rather soft music and kind of liked the idea that she would wake up to a new song every morning, A nice metaphor for every day being a new start. And that song started with, Isabella not knowing much Italian in spite of her name, being alone with dreams on the horizon. How appropriate that was!

But of course she was not completely alone in the apartment this morning. Her small man was fast asleep in his room and no alarm in this world or the next could wake him up. Only a human contact could manage that. And she was his. “David…time to wake up now!” After a few minutes the boy actually rose from his bed and stumbled off to the bathroom. It was a perfect metaphor for the initial slowness in which we humans take on life and sometimes we do need to be shaken a bit to snap out of it to actually start doing what we need to do. Things that make take a bit more effort from us than a brief visit to any bathroom. Isabella heard the familiar sounds telling her that David soon will be ready for his breakfast. The usual ritual was to ask him what he wanted, teaching him from early years to take decisions for himself.  The result could, however, be that he wanted hot dogs with chilli sauce every morning, or pancakes with apricot marmalade. This morning he went for two fried eggs. And children’s TV. Many parents prevents children from watching too much TV – but how much is much? And there are actually some fairly good programs which kids learn more from than they learn at school. So the “sin” of letting your child to watch TV might actually be a virtue. And how a bout “grown-up TV”, as David used to call programs he found boring. Maybe he is even on to something there – there are quite a few programs containing very little that adults seem to be addicted to. “Friends”, “Seinfeld” and “Frasier” are only too good examples of “nothing TV” that captured millions of viewers. Isabella had a hunch that Bruce Springsteen was right at least on one occasion. Isabella really only liked one Springsteen song, finding him a bit too macho and wearing ugly clothes on stage too. But “The River” was fine, she thought and smiled when he came up with “57 channels and nothing on”. She thought that that was one of the truest statements made in the media industry. Isabella took a glance at this morning’s paper looking for a film to watch this evening when David had gone to sleep. She had not yet succumbed to the more modern video-on-demand or downloading films via the Internet. She had, however, just received a box through DHL containing her new Smartphone. The decision process had been long and troublesome – she had for a moment almost decided to keep her old phone. She had talked with her best friend Rebecca about it. Rebecca said” Maybe you should have a phone coach!” and almost laughed her ass off. The absolute nightmare was of course two coaches planning to go out together for a meal and then see a film. Isabella just imagined how many counter-questions such a scenario would line up before some real decisions were actually made. Being laughed at worked well for Isabella spearheading her forward towards a decision. She would never try that method on a client though. It could only work between very close friends. She wondered which method she should use for indecisive clients. She had quite a number of those these days. For herself the Smartphone issue boiled down to if she needed such a phone at all or not. Did she really need to read e-mails and go surf the Internet on her phone? Or was that just a created demand by the phone companies or the manufacturers? To make us buy new products once a year at least?
Isabella was new at all the technology side of having a business or even a life these days. Seemed like everybody used Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn but her. And some even blogged! Isabella had been busy trying to get clients so she had not even thought about those things. Then Rebecca, who was a keen blog reader, said that “if it’s not on the Internet it has not really happened”. It was a kind of joke, but still…Isabella begun to think that she, too, must get onto the Social Media scene. She hadn’t even a website right now. Rebecca said that she could skip that and go for a blog instead that could double as her website. “No problem”, Rebecca said and also told her that she could get a blog for free too if she could accept not having the top domain. Isabella almost cried. “What in this world is a top domain? And is there also a middle and bottom domain?” A coach must not be afraid of stupid questions. Rebecca explained that there were a few places where she could get a free blog and even volunteered to help. Isabella was only too happy to let Rebecca lend a hand in this. Rebecca promised to throw in a Twitter and a Facebook account as well. “What shall I do with all this?” Isabella had no idea. “Well, Facebook is from the start mainly for expanding your private network but some actually manage to generate business through it too.” Isabella looked bewildered and as she wouldn’t grasp the idea of Facebook in a million years. “You can add people as friends and even get a fan page there.” “Do you mean I shall add people I don’t know as friends?” “No, but the people the ones you know know – how can you expand if you don’t?” “Hm…and a fan page – what is that?” “It is a page either for something you really like or for your company where people can become your fans.” Isabella burst out laughing. “I only have one fan and that’s my son. I hardly think people would storm the fan page of a forty-two year old single mother to become loyal supporters. It’s not like I am the local football team exactly, right? Or Lady Gaga.” “Well, fans in facebook are not really fans in the conventional way. To become a Facebook fan you only have to locate that page and press a button once. No real devotion is required which maybe devaluates the word “fan” quite a bit. But once you have fans you can provide them with all sorts of information, sales arguments and whatever. But you can place an ad in Facebook too but that will cost you money.” “How about that “Tweeter” then?” “Twitter.” “Yes, sorry.” “That is a micro blog.” Isabella sighed “So you mean I should have two blogs, one big and one small – and also a Facebook something and a fanpage?” “Yes, of course.” Rebecca was only too keen on arranging for Isabella to be the next Social Media Guru or trendsetter at least. Isabella felt like a complete virgin in comparison with Rebecca who seemed to have sinned on the Internet for quite some time already. Isabella realized that she needed to update herself to her next version and quickly too. The Isabella 2.0 had to be created for her company’s survival and to preserve and develop her trademark. Gone were the times of paper ads and flyers. Now it seemed like you had to make “almost friends”,  “almost fans” and “followers” in the virtual world  instead of making real connections in the physical world. It was all so strange for Isabella. The extroverts, who could handle social interaction and had the upper hand before, were being surpassed by the introverts who, even if they weren’t really sociable, could handle the Webb. “The Revenge of the Shy” if you will. “The Nerds will inherit the earth” was a phrase that came to Isabella’s mind. And they ran around with iPhones or other Smartphones. Some even packed a Netbook, those small ten-inch screen laptops that weren’t capabable of much more than Internet surfing or e-mailing. Isabella wanted more than that for her money. She wanted a good keyboard, light-weight, good graphics and fairly good capacity too. A Netbook was out of the question. Cheap yes, but as a computer no. After quite a bit of research she found her answer. A Sony Vaio X. It was too expensive really, but her body would thank her for the investment later. And as for mobile Internet she didn’t need a dongle either. The SIM-card could be placed within the Vaio. But back to the DHL box and her new phone. Well it wasn’t really a new phone it was a semi-old iPhone. Isabella had been planning on an iPhone but Rebecca had said “There is a new iPhone coming real soon which is much better than the old one.” Quite a dilemma choosing between a fair phone and waiting for the better one Many of Isabella’s clients had the same choices in their lives. To keep their fairly good  job or replace it with a possibly better one. Or to stay with their husband or fall for the young lover. To be a saint or a sinner, preferably both. Or perhaps neither. To eat the cake and keep it. So Isabella went for that solution. She bought a used iPhone now and would transfer to the new better when that was released. Apple bragged about a date shortly after the summer. The seller had told Isabella that he was going to buy an Android phone instead. He, it was a he, had been getting annoyed by Apple and their policy on Apps and content. He had said that Apple took thirty percent of the turnover on every App and also claimed the right to refuse Apps which content they didn’t like. Isabella agreed with him and remembered something about Microsoft trying to censor the search content in their search engine Bing too as many totalitarian states are censoring their people’s right to expression. “The so-called democracies are always extremely shocked when the Chinese or any such country is repressing the free word, but extremely less shocked when they do the same thing themselves.” But the freedom of speech comes with responsibility. The Internet was full of stupid, ill-written, irresponsible material. But none of that was illegal. Isabella had the strong opinion that if something was legal it had a right to exist. If you wanted it to disappear you had to change the laws or not to use it making it go away by itself. She knew that most Internet sites were there to make money, nothing else. And if the site didn’t make money it will be closed down. As easy as that. As the old saying went: “If you don’t like shark bites, don’t do swimming in the shark tank”. But on the Internet, as in real life, it is only too easy to become a sinner – and extremely hard to remain a saint.

The same could be said for the tenant of a certain apartment in Östermalm, Stockholm this minute. Or more appropriate – It was already too late.