Friday, March 10, 2017
This morning our internet went out. It was working fine until our provider’s service truck appeared at the end of the driveway. The service guy lifted himself to the top of the pole, futzed around for a few minutes, drove away, and lo and behold, our internet was gone.
My first bizarre thought was that government forces were at work: operatives had seen my political posts on social media, didn’t care for them, and cut off my ability to write any more. Yes, truly bizarre, I know.
Anyway, we ended up calling for service, and I was resigned to waiting all day for the technician to arrive. But in the meantime, I realized I had an opportunity. Time I’d normally be using to screw around on my iPad could actually go to something else. I decided to go outdoors and enjoy what will probably be one of our last snowy days this year.
Wandering around the property, I yanked fallen branches clogging the brook, checked out the extent of deer browsing on the azaleas, and traipsed along my woodland paths, enjoying the big furry flakes falling all around me. At one point, the hooty calls between two barred owls caught my attention. The owls were quite close to each other—mating calls? Normally I would look that up on the internet—but, no, not today.
Flocks of house finches and juncos chirped and twittered from the pepperidge trees; they seemed to be enjoying the fresh snow, too. And Sasha, letting the white stuff collect on her golden fur, waited patiently for me to throw her some snowballs.
The peace and near silence were refreshing and brought me back to a place I used to be familiar with—a long time ago, or so it seems. A place where nature held a much larger share of my mental energy. Where I could get totally absorbed in the sight of water flowing in the brook, the smell of wet soil, the sound of a woodpecker drumming on the bark of an old beech tree.
Recently though, in the last few months in particular, I’ve become obsessed with what the internet offers me—the world is at our fingertips, after all—especially the political news. Ever-present and ever-available, it consumes me. Columnist Thomas Friedman said it in an interview a few weeks ago: Americans have a new addiction—we cannot get enough of the troubling and sometimes bizarre news cycles that confront us daily. Gruesome stuff, surely, but I’m obsessed with it anyway. I find I’m itching to check in with the news several times a day to learn what egregious remarks have been made, what damage has been done to our democracy, our civil rights, our health and security. And what, if anything, anybody is doing about it. It’s like watching a horror movie or a TV crime drama full of violence and grisly images. I am enthralled, watching avidly, but waiting and hoping for some sort of fair resolution, some kind of good ending to the nightmare.
But not today. Today I’m free of all that (other than writing about it). And as TV service is out, too, I am released for a bit from my obsession. Thank you, Optimum, for this brief (I expect) time with no internet service and no TV news. It’s still snowing outside. And I plan to take full advantage. I’m going out to throw more snowballs for Sasha.