When I left my room in Hillsboro, I predicted being left to my own devices; I did not realize this meant no devices…
Half-January & I am out of data minutes on my phone. A fit of craving momentarily seizes my frontal lobe. No! Back to writing with a pen! After speeding all over the keyboard, after being reduced to pecking with a stylus at tiny buttons on my phone…I am wading out of the river of data in which I so recently immersed to a dry & sandy shore where the water is just a wash of noise behind me. From the swift whitewater current of following a dozen blogs & vlogs, to the shallows of a few daily emails (with occasional swirls of enabled research), to this dry stretch of a scratching pen on real paper. O, Lord!
My home is ultra-quiet. The heater turning on is a rumble above which I quickly subdue, turning down heat & reaching for a jacket. I moved here in the primal drive of having heat over the winter; however, the temps have been so mild as to almost preclude the need for this miracle My 40-watt bulb blinks in a Morse Code, telling me it is a refrigerator light & not a real bulb…and in its tiny filament of estimation, I’ve had the fridge door open far too long for it to sustain all 40 watts. There is such a thing as over-saving, perhaps? But all the times I was snide about the cranky words flung at me “I’m on a fixed budget” are crabbing at me now, pincers clicking brightly, pinching on the checkbook.
Scribing on in the dark is easy; I’ve written in semi-darkness for years as the drive continues when the light changes in either direction. For if the Muse is pushing me to take it all down, I pay no attention to ambient light.
It sounds relaxing. Yes, it bestills me to be in this way isolate. This original habit was overtaken by tech, like driving after walking. With walking, though, more details come into view. I yearn to fly on the keyboard instead of this careful forming each letter, almost drawing them one by one. There, I use profane abbreviations – “n” for and, “tho” for though…I leave words half-formed & uncooked. By hand, I cannot bear this untidiness. It becomes the omission of parts of a recipe. A pinch of salt ignored may mean the bread will be lumpy.
Sadly, January 15th sees me with a phone to be used as only a phone (here an old lament rises, I hardly ever get calls); a laptop to be used as a typewriter only. None of the connections so benevolently granted by utility companies are affordable right now on my budget (as I’ve said, consisting of one lightbulb burning at a time.) I even bought a battery-operated lantern at a yard sale. It is more reliable than my refrigerator bulb straining to fulfill the function of a real light.
All this, and the world breathless with change, my alternative news sources screaming from the cusp of Great Transformation, pension funds refusing to invest in oil (what a predictive indicator), indictments vibrating in pouches of process servers, big-name politicos wearing camouflage orthopedic boots supposedly covering their GPS trackers.) I am news-less, praying friends will notify me when it is time to plant good seeds, check my account for the prosperity funds, release thoughts of nuclear fission powering the grid, bombs & chaos landing ‘pon the heads of my fellow world denizens. It is somehow fitting to my fate that I am learning to release tech at a time when it is releasing its severity of need to us. For indeed, two steps back from the brink can never be enough. We need to turn our backs & seek peace, love, & compassionate living in the most human of ways, simple touch, divine regard.
So, my descent into handwriting is more of a hand-made handicraft than a cybercrime sin. The flowers of an over-perfumed garden have devolved into a dandelion seeding a field.
Tech is convenient, seductive. Even though its blue light hurts my waking eyes, I was drawn to its 6 a.m. crystal gaze. What I lose in quantity, I gain in quality. Vocabulary assumes importance, thoughtfulness chivies reaction right out of the ring, squeezing it through the ropes with a “pop!”
The river well behind me now, I click the top of the pen, just as final a move as closing the laptop clamshell. I re-shelve the journal as I eagerly stuff the computer into its black carry-case.
I’m on my way to the computer lab, ostensibly to volunteer – a thin excuse to re-entering the seductive world I am missing with every written word. Back online, submerged in a room marinated by the radiation of fifteen-plus computers, a WIFI box in the cabinet, a server steadily lub-dubbing its beat on a desk.
Addicted, after all my fine words of freedom.
Twelve steps closer to my world…