The last two weeks have been a nightmare for me. No Internet! I was pet sitting for friends that had just moved to a new home before they went on vacation and they didn't have time to hook up their computer or TV or washer and dryer.
I was going nuts. I had to go to libraries and Internet cafes to use my laptop. And then horror of all horrors, I spilled grapefruit juice on my laptop. The Apple store said it would be cheaper to but a new one.
Now I'm pet sitting for other friends that have Internet access but I have no computer. It's been quite unsettling. I'm used to checking my email every day, reading the Huffington Post, posting my blogs. I feel disconnected from the world.
Last week I was reduced to listening to the Phillies' games on a bedroom clock radio with poor reception. The only TV I watched was the end of The Bachelorette in a laundromat while the suds turned. "Is that the one she picked?", another patron asked me. "No," I said. "He's on his way in a limousine." I could hardly hear the show because the volume was too low and I couldn't reach the dials. Alas, the inconveniences of life!
It got me thinking about how addicted I am to the Internet, to cable TV, and to my cell phone. I don't even tweet or text and yet I realized how much I am dependent on these new technologies. I was feeling anxious all week.
A friend pointed out that my body was probably having a hard time slowing down. Its true. Sometimes my brain feels like it's running at warp speed. Take way the stimulus of TV and the Internet and what are you left with? Yourself and your thoughts.
I was forced to look at my anxiety and realized I was still going through the grieving process. I had lost my mom to Alzheimers in 2006 and my younger sister to breast cancer in 2007, and while I had thought I was dealing with their passing, my body expressed otherwise.
My sister's birthday was July 12th and my mom's August 4th. That has reminded me of them and stirred some deep sadness and a feeling of loss. As I was driving my car, I heard on the radio about the "beer meeting" between the President, the Vice President, the professor, and the officer. I was touched deeply inside and started weeping. It wasn't just the thoughts of reconciliation and racial healing. I knew it was also my sister and my mom and remembering the contributions they made to my life and how I will never see them again, at least on the physical realm. I had a good long cry and then felt much relief.
It's funny how being connected to the world doesn't mean you are connected to yourself. In fact, often the opposite is true. The computer can be a distraction or escape that allows you to stuff your feelings.
I worry about how all this new technological communication will affect future generations. My friend told me that her teenage daughter sleeps with her cell phone, and when she is out with her friends they are always texting others.
By communicating through machines, are we losing our ability for healthy human interactions? I remember (and I know I'm dating myself) when phones began having call waiting. It never liked it because it felt rude to interupt a caller to talk to someone else. I always let it beep so they can leave me a message. But so many people stop talking and say "hold on, I have to take this."
Wouldn't it be nice to just have a face to face conversation with someone with no distractions? Better yet, how about a week by yourself with no TV, no radio, no phone, no Internet, no newspapers out in nature somewhere?
After the initial withdrawal symptoms, it could be quite therapeutic. That is what was semi-forced on me and I'm so glad that it was. It's true what they say: "Silence is Golden."