30 September 2007

And on the Fifth Day

For four and a half days I had no

and no

...which is, of course, a euphemism for "no internet access"-- and this is infinitely more critical than not having access to a laptop. I discovered this when someone in the training program (I'll talk about this later...) brought a laptop to a session. I'd done some casual research/shopping for a new machine a few days before; but my desire to "check my email" when I spotted her laptop was intense, focused, excited. And the satisfaction I felt logging into Gmail and just browsing Subject lines was deep.

No laptop at home also means no computer games. My addiction is not as persistent as the cigarettes--I don't have to step away from the world and get a fix of Diner Dash or Luxor 2 after a meal...between thoughts....whenever I drink coffee; but it is an issue. After three hours at the piano I crave nothing more than to logon and earn a million dollars manufacturing chocolate candies in the game-world of Chocolatier.

During these four days, as it happened, Netflix and the US mail service (as it functions in Gulfport MS) had conspired again to leave me without a single DVD film to watch. (I love film. I love the escapism. I love being moved to tears. I love learning something. I love sitting on my bed with some yummy pasta and warm bread and my remote controls.) I watch a lot of films--compared to the queues of my Netflix Friends, my queue exists in another universe, like the difference between a demitasse espresso and a 50-cup percolator in a military mess hall.

So for four and a half days I was thrown back on myself, into a depth of intimacy I had not experienced in quite that way for a long time. I played piano. I listened to CDs. I looked at my guitar...

I existed in my mind and body without props, without favorite toys. I showered, brushed my teeth, flossed my teeth, painted my toenails. Wondered how my counterpart in Uganda handles "free time"...does she have free time?

I started thinking about my other toys, my stuff in storage in Oakland. I wandered mentally through the boxes...my oil crayons and big paper, my good pencils for sketching, the rest of my CDs, my books, my favorite piano lamp, my cast iron skillet...

When I was finally able to borrow a laptop for a couple of days, I was excited but not frantic. I didn't spend hours online and I noticed that my body--specifically my neck, left shoulder and elbow and lower back--doesn't respond well to long stints sitting at my desk in front of the laptop. Perhaps there's a more comfortable posture or setup. Perhaps it's just as well to spend less time at the computer.

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