Blackness. The muted purr of a cooling computer processor. A down-feathered comforter rests atop my sleeping corpse. It is 3 a.m.
When I awaken, television’s talking heads will thrust opinions with the requisite bias required of all newspersons who’ve been hired by obscenely wealthy businessmen who want to impose their philosophical dogma upon the masses, my cell phone will display last night’s phone calls and text messages from around the globe – with the assumption that I will read and respond to each one with ample consideration aforethought, the newly-purchased laptop complete with abrasive glow and the absurd power to display my Facebook page, Skype screen, various email accounts, address book, and internet news aggregators such that I am so wholly connected to the world that I can barely urinate without someone in Kowloon calling to suggest a third shake-off might be necessary. I am supremely connected.
A quarter century ago, I recall struggling to find a phone booth to call home to let the ‘rents know I was going to be late. With bowed heads and fingers working like centipede legs, today’s youth notify their unconcerned ‘rental units that their evening’s iphone candids will be on facebook, and should the Moms and Pops need to see that everything is ok, they can pop on the GPS locator or fire up the ipad and video-conf. in. Frankly, jacking-in may be more addictive than jacking-off.
And yet, there is a sense of disconnection, as though through all of this technology, we’ve lost the human interaction, now relegated to contact by machine. Handwritten letters, a face-to-face family dinner, a long walk with a friend, the outdated personal exchanges now gone the way of the Dodo. Perhaps ubiquitous connection requires human disconnect, the way that people working in chocolate factories eventually develop an aversion to chocolate. Maybe the information overload and hyper-stimulation is overwhelming. Sometimes a numbness creeps in, those slumped shoulders and lobotomized stare that suggests you have checked out for a while. Sometimes it happens in the midst of a conversation or a bl