unofficially i troll yelp. officially i think there is a loud-mouthed element out there clogging the arteries meant for transmitting useful information. sometimes i think i am a writer because my dad is a, notoriously and sometimes hilariously, difficult human being and unless i want eternal daddy-issues i've got to make some lemonade. sometimes i think how sad, all that material would be set out to pasture if i didn't find a way to recycle its rich and fertile complexity. in this way, i embrace the fact that when i am not sharing, i am hoarding away certain gems and possible cautionary tales. in this way, i try my best to be brave.
i've often thought (and been quite assured) that the only thing separating my dad from being wrapped in a blanket screaming at passerby's on the corner is his good job. yelp has confirmed my suspicions by giving my dad an average of three out of five stars. i would beg to differ on a few counts, but overall, i am satisfied with this score. he was, after all, being rated for his profession, not his fatherhood.
while i do my own research, it was my friend (who does her fair share of yelp trolling as well) that recently landed on his page. upon her discovery my phone rang. breathless and laughing, she was on the other side of the line. she swore she wasn't sure how she got there, but somehow she found my dad on yelp. the idea alone was like driving through a storm just as the sun comes out and an enormous rainbow flanks itself across the sky in your direction. it was the purest response to his bad behavior i could have ever imagined.
there in a group of other's writing were reviews of his lunacy for the world to see. never again would i have to question if i was just overreacting or an unreasonable person altogether. never again would i have to explain why, despite living in the same city, i don't see my dad. yelp had done the talking for me.
there were ten reviews, ranging in length and stars, from one to four, never five. my immediate reaction was to print them out and save millions in a lifetime of therapy--that folded up piece of perfection would then be found in my wallet, like an infinite hall pass. i'd whip it out on occasions when it was just too exhausting to explain--i'd reference "josh k. of boulder co." who says after a long-winded tirade, "I'm really not doing justice to how angry and rude he was. Absolutely the worst customer experience I've ever had anywhere, including the DMV," and wait until the reader was finished and i'd belt out a, "seeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!"
this would be the vindication i could reach out and touch after all the wrestling with this resolute and adult incarnation of my daughterhood.
after i had lifted my jaw off the ground, i thought how amazing it was to share exact thoughts with strangers. my eyes now ceiling-ward and fixed, i began to wonder if these reviewers would share in my favorite thai food restaurants, or where i have found the best martini, or bought an out of print book. i became fiendish for their opinions, would they be kindred? were they in fact, my people, were we unwittingly disbanded, was there some cosmic divide keeping us apart? i let my thoughts wear themselves out.
my eyes dropped back down to my computer screen. i was clear that there wasn't much in me that wanted to object to any of the terrible reviews of my dad, even in defense of my own genetics. i knew i was relishing in a moment of clarity, the kind that can only exist within in the context of this kind of absurdity. and then in a sweep, i realized that i was completely complicit, alight, and repulsed by my unwitting cyber heroes.
i had to ask myself: did yelp complete me? or am i just another yelphole?