When I opened up my eyes in the fort (yes, it’s still up) this morning, the sun scorched my retinas like a prolonged flash from a disposable camera. It made me think of how far I’ve come from my hatred for the stream of sunlight that would find its way through the drawn curtains of my teenage years. In those days, the only things that were worthwhile before noon were McDonalds’s breakfast and The Price is Right with Bob Barker (remember to spay and neuter your pets).
After some reading in bed I took a stroll through the melting snow with Rumor, our Doberman pinscher who we rescued from a sandwich shop. It always amuses me how other dog walkers switch to the other side of the road to pass because of her breed’s reputation—little do they know that Rumor is scared of cardboard boxes, paper towels, washing machines and anything that’s loud; not to mention that she lets our paraplegic Jack Russell, Riddle, maintain the alpha role in our house (I must admit that I do enjoy this misplaced, stereotype-induced appearance of intimidation because my tendency to smile at strangers doesn’t exactly strike fear into people’s hearts). Taking walks like these, unplugged from the constant chatter of the Internet allows me to hone in on the trickle of the stream of mountain runoff, the honks of the distant geese, and the massive puddles that turn every sidewalk’s corner into mini ballets of pedestrian pirouettes.
Yet it’s still a struggle for me to leave the comfort of my couch, where I could be scrolling through the sea of infinite information and entertainment that lives in my phone, waiting, beckoning me to fall into yet another black hole of YouTube where after starting with one silly video I suddenly find myself, hours later, watching a clip of a cat putting on a bunny hat, leaving me wondering, “how the fuck did I get here?” It’s nuts how easy it is to be captured by these cheap, goldfish-attention-span videos that sate our lazy, passive curiosities, but that’s a real 21st century, first-world problem—anything I want, including all day McDonalds breakfast and all of the old episodes of The Price is Right are just a couple of convenient clicks away.
It’s unplugged times like walking through the snow with my dopey, intimidating Dobie that make me grateful for remembering the sound of a dialup modem coming through the receiver of our rotary phone as I try to hang up immediately, hoping not to inconvenience one of my older brothers by kicking them off one of their “super important” sessions on AIM in the basement. Perhaps it’s just my version of “back in my day,” but I can’t help but think that this evolution of technology invading our psyches is a bit more intrusive and worrisome than watching Elvis thrust his hips on a television set or the 60’s movement being reduced to a brand of countercultural consumerism. Perhaps we all want to be strong and intimidating but beneath it all we’re all just scared of paper towels and cardboard boxes like Rumor—either way, I’m just happy and grateful I can still muster the strength to shirk the comforts of convenience and enjoy the trickle of a creek once in awhile.