We can’t cut the cord. Everything else is cut, cancelled,
discarded or stored. The cats are gone, to a legal studio in East Cambridge.
Number two son is gone, finally moved out by the force and finality of
having no place to crash. He should be landing in Lima shortly. We are
sitting in an empty apartment, a few forlorn dishes and lamps strewn
around, walls and cupboards bare, a ringing silence hanging in the air
without the hum of the heat or the whine of the refrigerator.
But we can’t cut the broadband. It is our umbilical to the world. In the
morning we will have to disconnect the cable modem, winking merrily behind
the computer, and store the machine itself in a secret, bomb-proof vault.
It will be the last thing we do before we head for the airport. Hello,
our name is the Dowbrigade, and we are addicted to the internet.
Since we first got cable broadband, four year ago when we still lived in
Cambridge, one of the first neighborhoods to be wired due to the concentration
of potential addicts, we have not been separated from it for longer than
a week or two at most. Most trying weeks, at that. Withdrawal is never
pleasant, although being on the road either ameliorates or exacerbates,
the cognitive dissonance, which seems to help.
The illegal wetback movers failed to show, and it looks as though we may
have to abandon the refrigerator and washer. Too bad, but they are just "things",
after all. Much less important than, say, our cats.
We were thinking about "things" today as we lugged the millionth
box up two flights of rickety back stairs. Who realizes how many "things" one
has accumulated until you have to pack them up and move them somewhere
else? Each object, of the thousands of objects, was once new, admired, examined,
handled and studied. Many of them may go days or weeks without being used,
but when the particular situation which inspired its acquisition occurs,
nothing else will do. We were looking at the blender through the transparent
packing tape when this occurred to us.
But things are replaceable, and people,
pets and experiences are not. And
dependence on anything is a weakness, be it drugs, power, sex or the internet.
Of course, we are not planning on cutting ourself off from the net completely.
Please, lets not get crazy. Rather, we believe we can "cut down",
first to 56K, then maybe to cyber cafe connectivity. We may try to hold
it down to one post a day. Lets see where that takes us.
As in any great experiment, there will be lessons to be learned and stories
to be told, and conclusions to be drawn by those who are into that sort
of thing. Somehow we know that before this is all through we will be way
out there near the cold calamitous edge at some point. walking the highwire
without a net, in that strange exciting border zone where one wrong move
can be fatal and the only place we know where a person NEEDS to be fully
awake to survive. Hopefully, we’ll be within reach of an internet-connected
computer when that happens, and coherent enough to communicate with you guys. Stay tuned….