January 12, 2009

cyber blues

Charles is alive and well, drifting through the Steppes of Central Asia ‘disconnected’.

You are in a foreign country, one of those countries just recently released from the damp basement of a dank past. Your hotel room has no view. The phone does not work, and speaking into the light bulb, which used to be the way to communicate, no longer pertains. The men who once sat patiently in a cement cubicle below your room listening breathlessly to your every word have emigrated to a technologically advanced country, ours let us say, in order to employ their gift for patient snooping in more rewarding ways. You are alone in a small room at the far edge of nowhere and there is no place to plug in the computer. There will be no phone calls, no e-mails, and certainly, no snail mail for the duration of your stay, which, originally slated for one month, now looks more like an eternity.

After the first wave of tech-withdrawal anxiety has subsided, you ask yourself, and why should I, off all people, be so connected to other people that I must suffer withdrawal anxiety? The obvious answer is that you are neither important nor irreplaceable. If you disconnect from all the plugged-in people you used to be connected to, the network will make only an infinitesimal adjustment. Your former plug-in mates will go on connecting with each other, barely noticing your absence. You realize then that the network is the important thing. Anyone outside of it ceases to exist. You also remember now, with some remorse, losing all your old epistolary friends for the simple reason that they wrote snail-mail letters. You dropped them into nonexistence because they were not plugged in.

When you realize this, you stick your head out the window and shout: ‘Anybody home?’ and suddenly heads appear in the windows looking at you and speaking in some non-electronic language. The whole world is at home! Which is quite reassuring and you are comforted by their physical proximity.

See, your computer plug does not love you enough to answer your shout.

P. S. I am well again, thank you for sending all that positive energy.


reader from Norway said...

very amusing

Anonymous said...

now that i enjoyed