Thursday, January 27, 2011

Nothing new under the sun

A blank page holds a certain level of intimidation it would seem.
There. Now you don't seem so scary, Senor Page. Let us begin.

I'm sitting in a local coffee shop and seem to have situated myself in a somewhat less than ideal spot; I'm within reach of the front door and near a large window facing west. The sun is simply destroying my fair haven't-seen-the-sun-in-three-months skin. And just when I get a good sweat built up, a sweet, innocent customer arrives and opens the door. This brings about a pleasant blast of arctic wind to sweep across my glistening body. These poor customers. The first sight they see upon entering the shop is a sweaty looking guy with a look of absolute confusion on his face.

Right. Well. This is turning out to be a thrilling read, no? On to some meat and potatoes.

While listening to NPR yesterday (yup, an NPR namedrop to boost my apparent level of civility in the readers' eyes), a discussion formed on the protests occurring in Egypt. In attempts to hinder the spread of the resistance, the government has crippled cell phone usage as well as blocked access to certain internet sites. I departed from the interview and began to mull over what would happen should something similar happen in the States.

I hate to say it, but I take the internet for granted. I also find myself horribly addicted to the darned thing as well. I think we've all been there before; you're working on a class paper, work project, or personal endeavor (such as a sweet-ass blog that everyone loves), and you happen to have your browser opened to, say, Facebook. As you toil away at your project, you begin to sense a wicked, insatiable, and rapidly swelling notion rise in the back of your conscious that suggests that you scan across the Facebook tab to see if a (1) has manifested itself next to your name. You realize that this pesky little notion will not help you finish your task-at-hand any faster, so you tell yourself, "Hey, self. Pay no heed to that tab. It's not important. You don't need to check that."
This, as we all know, is a horrible, horrible attempt at lying to yourself. In a last fit of defiance, you decide that you're just not going to look at the screen to erase any risk of inadvertently scanning across the tab and hurting your work proficiency. All reserves of focus are assigned to stare intently at the letter "t" on your keyboard as your laugh at the thought of your silly little subconscious' attempt to control you. Then, an audible popping noise is heard by those around you as you successfully give yourself a brain aneurysm. As the medics haul you into their ambulance you raise a weary hand and draw one in closer.
"What....(cough) What notifica...tion?"
"Wha....oh, uhm, Stacy Herzburger 'liked' the photo of your cat you just added."

Ah, success.
I might have exaggerated a tad, but I think you catch my drift.

A few weeks back, the internet to our house was accidentally cut off. I woke that morning and felt as though I had been transported back in time. Instead of venturing outside to save someone important, hunt dinosaurs, invest in Yahoo, etc., I was just simply reminded of how rusty I was when it came to navigating the world outside. I felt disconnected and a little out of synch. I passed the time by plugging/unplugging the router numerous times and watching the lights blink on and off. Fascinating. My first instinct to call for tech support led to a facepalm of grand proportions: Oh that's simple! I'll just look their number up onli...AW DAMMIT.

It did make me sit back an reflect on some of the clients I work with. A good portion find themselves without internet, consistent phone service, or transportation on a daily basis. THEN, on top of that, throw in electric bills, lack of groceries, medications, and 4 or 5 screaming kids. If this depiction does not describe you, then I wholeheartedly urge you to take a moment and reflect upon your fortunes.

Back to the internet conversation and, hopefully, some semblance of coherency. A co-worker recently explained to a few of us at an early meeting about her quest to disconnect herself from certain things. She would still communicate work-related missives, but she would do so in an extremely limited manner. I'm not sure about her motives, but I would assume that it would be in attempts to bring some sort of balance to her life between work, home, and whatever time in between.

I found myself intrigued. I too find myself looking for ways to simply enjoy what's around me without any outside 'noise.' Don't get me wrong, I love the interaction that is opened up through such avenues as Facebook or Hotmail. Checking those (1)'s of (2)'s next to your page can certainly be stimulating and personally rewarding. And the desire increases exponentially when you're waiting to hear from someone you're looking forward to hearing from. In looking for a relatable way to transfer my thoughts, I happened to catch the sunset out the window (the same window that was recently responsible for helping to roast me).

Bam. There you go. How do even begin to describe that moment of synchronization? I find myself understanding the poets and writers throughout generations a little more that took it upon themselves to perfectly describe the worldly beauty around them. I won't even try. I'll just simply say that it was hot. Believe me. 

It looks like I need to take some of my own advice and disconnect a little bit.

We live in a marvelous world. I hope that as you read this, you're in a comfortable and appreciative place. Have a great week and may this note help leave you in a brighter, more radiant place.


P.S. Oh snap. Someone tagged a photo of me...I'll check it out, THEN sign off. I swear.


  1. Ahem. C.S. Lewis talked about unexpected moments in nature that causes us to feel a very distinct feeling...he called it joy. According to Lewis, the feeling was a sort of happiness with a longing for what the sight hinted at. Lewis said these were moments when we saw the far off glory of heaven. He wrote about it in two books; Surprised by Joy, and an essay entitled The Weight of Glory. Both are, in my Lewis obsessed opinion, wonderful reads.
    This is becoming a really long comment, but I have been finding this feeling lately as I begin to notice the world around me more. I even saw it in people today as I worked my cash register.
    Also, I was sadly disappointed in my lack of notifications today...

  2. Oh that Clydesdale Steeplechase Lewis! What a guy!
    His name popped up a few times this morning as I read through some Thrice-related discussion boards. Maybe I should give "This Hideous Strength" another shot.
    Your comment gave me joy, Steven. Now I shall give you a notification on FB.