Volume 96, Issue 95
Friday, March 28, 2003

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Tracking The Suit in "real time"

Did you miss me?
Jessica Leeder
Gazette Staff

I don't think it would be too much of a leap for me to say that Western students have become adept at using communications technology.

Of course, this is a sweeping generalization, and we're not all cellphone toting, palm-pilot-using, blond-streaked supermodels. However, a number of us – you – do fit the description, and as such, have been the root of much annoyance – mine – during much of the past four years.

I say much, not all, because it was only recently that I discovered the personal benefits I have reaped from this trend, which, for me, have been an indirect result of the Richard Ivey School of Business.

During my first two years at Western, the root of many of my frustrations lay in the sheer expanse of our campus. Its spread made tracking my boyfriend on campus to shuffle cars (or meet for spontaneous lunch time trysts) quite difficult.

Then, suddenly, in our third year at Western, finding my boyfriend became much easier. This has much to do with the fact that effectively, he became The Suit (by this, I mean he started business school).

At Ivey, everyone is always connected to the Internet. It's wireless, it's mandatory and, after only a few weeks, it's addictive.

There, The Suit boasts, people receive e-mails in "real time," they use instant messaging software during class (gasp) and they never need a password to get onto the Net. Sounds boring and annoying, doesn't it? That's what I thought, at first. But it gets better.

In the summer following HBA I, the lucky Suits get jobs. My Suit was a lucky one. With a real job in a big city came The Suit's insatiable desire for a cellphone, likely so he could fit in with all the other Suits running around in Toronto.

The significance of this is that by the start of this year, The Suit had been unfailingly and quite willingly trained as a communicating machine.

The combination of the wireless Internet and the addition of the cellphone made it virtually impossible NOT to be able to track him down, and absolutely permissible to call at any moment, for any reason.

For a while, I was feeling intimidated by the invasion of all these technological elements – each of them precious to The Suit. But that feeling only lasted until I began to view them as little candy-coated trails useful for helping me find him.

You see, all these elements of technology mean it is (conveniently) nearly impossible to hide from me. Sure, he can turn them all off, but eventually, he has to turn them back on. When he does, his high-tech phone will remind him I called nine times in the span of six minutes, left two frantic messages and notified his mother he was missing.

In his inbox there will be two or three more sparsely-worded, panicky notes. On his computer screen, a blue flashing bar pulses with a flurry of MSN one-liners I flung off while waiting for him to respond.

Within minutes, he calls me.

"Hey, is something wrong? You called me nine times," he will say.

"No, nothing's wrong. I just wondered where you were," I say with an innocent tone.

"Just went to the bathroom," The Suit says. "I left my phone in my jacket. Sorry."

"Don't worry. It was nothing important," I say. "I just wanted to see if you would call, and you did." Relief.

The moral of this story is that there is upside to technology: in some cases, it can put the world at the tips of your fingers, and in my case, The Suit in the palm of your hand.

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