Hello, sweet world! I'm back online after my big, controversial move out of the city. I've landed safely in the great ozarks known as the north shore and I'm eager to report my experience of being completely offline and without a phone or television for nearly a week. That's right. I'm all "what's a binder?" right now. I lost my phone and haven't had the Internet or even a teev since last Saturday. I couldn't even find my Kindle! Let's explore the phases of my technological odyssey.
1. Denial. When I first lost my phone somewhere around October 3rd, I figured it would turn up like that time I lost Buh-Stell under her bed or when I thought I lost my wedding rings only to have an aw, sheesh moment when they were in my dresser the whole time. The phone was somewhere. It was probably good for me to not have access to Facebook 24/7, anyway, right? "Don't text and drive!" I did enough Words With Friends and virtual drive-bys on my laptop at home, so maybe I was a little phone fatigued anyway. I got this. No prob. Everything is fine. Who needs a phone? Phone who? Not me!
2. Panic. Moving day arrived. Still no phone. Surely I'd be busy, um, moving. Then it was revealed that Niko forgot that the cable company needs a week in advance to make the magic work when you relocate. You can't just up and move and be like, "hi, I need Internet today" and it arrives at your door like a pizza. Nope. We figured this out Saturday and thus, I was going to be out of luck getting online until Thursday. That's six whole days of missed status updates, message board blackouts and not having any damn information. What was the number for the pediatrician? What are the store hours at Target? What are my high school classmates having for dinner? Who needs the Internet during a move? Me. That's who. Me! I need the Internet! I need Facebook! I need to blog about every errant thought and observation! I NEED THE INTERWEBZ, GOD.
3. Explosive panic, existential questioning. No seriously, I need the fucking Internet. Like now. Niko left for Detroit on the second day living here and I was all alone in a big, unfamiliar house. And by the way, what do people do all day? Surely after I unpacked all these boxes I would just be staring at the wall, rocking back and forth and crying. I am so aloooneee! I am Jennifer Aloneiston! Did Niko marry me and lock me away in the 'burbs without a computer in a final bid for complete control over my person?? Is this how people lived in the 1800s? Were their lives full of sheer misery? And how did they know who to vote for if they couldn't watch the presidential debates live, in high def, on a theater screen, with a Twitter feed? The universe felt very unfair, both to those souls who lived pre-1994 and to me, currently.
4. Invention. Niko got me one of those throw-away phones from Walgreens for $16 so I could call 911 in an emergency. It was like the detox scene in Trainspotting where the guy is foaming at the mouth and hallucinating babies on the ceiling. In my obsession for the Internet, I managed to poke around on this prepaid phone enough to actually log into my Facebook page. I felt like a baboon discovering fire. If I were a caveman, I'd have beaten my chest. Since I'm a lady who watched commercials in the 90's I just eeked out an audible "cha-ching" and called it a night. It wasn't HuffPo or Pinterest, but it was something.
5. The dawn of peace. By Wednesday morning I was a new spirit. I had made amazing strides in unpacking and making this house a home. I floated through the rooms laying my possessions just so while imaginary sparrows tied my (also imaginary, come on) apron strings into perfect bows. I served the children wholesome, simple meals and watched with a quiet smile as they frolicked in the perfect lawn. Ah, life. I reflected on what a joy my children are and relished in the little things. You know, chocolate. Baileys in a martini glass with an ice cube. Toenail polish. Then suddenly I remembered all those Pinterest projects I had been meaning to do! Clothes line in the kitchen for the children's art? Nailed it! Fabric and ribbon on a blank canvas for storing the girls' hair bows? Check one two! I was a regular ole Martha Mary Poppins over here and feeling goo-oo-ood. Internet? Oh, that silly old thing. Yes I was still kind of dying to have it, but I was on a cloud of living life in the moment.
I floated like that for about two days. My home was cleanish, my kids were little cherubs to be enjoyed and I have to say, for the first time in a long time, I felt good about my momming. I wasn't really doing anything differently, I just felt better. They were still living on spaghetti and peanut butter sandwiches for the most part and I didn't lose any weight or get prettier but I felt better about myself. Why? I couldn't say. Maybe everything really was better in the suburbs?
And then . . . the record scratch. My time of rose-colored glasses came to a screeching halt this afternoon when
the messiah the Comcast guy arrived to set up Internet at my new house. I sputtered out my thanks and flew to the computer. I tossed on a Dr. Seuss DVD for the kids, rubbed my hands together in delicious glee and dove to my precious, beloved Internets. Just as I leaned in to french kiss the virtual world I got a thud in my heart. Suddenly I was reading a stream of humblebrags and regular brags, career brags, kid brags and brags of all shades that kind of made me feel like crap. I soon realized reading Facebook is like standing naked in a dressing room in harsh light as Photoshopped supermodels parade around you. Even though my rational mind knows Facebook profiles and status updates are a projection of what people want you to think about them (perfect children! Idyllic vacations!) the weak part of me takes it at face value and I can't help but compare myself. We live in a Fecebook (typo and it stays) world where super women can have it all and do do it all. It's an imaginary dreamland where we've posed and cropped our lives for the benefit of our "friends". But is that really benefitting anyone? I realized today, no. It's just making us all really crappy to each other.
And who is possibly the biggest contributor of the Facebook facade? Me. Allow me to own up. Mea culpa. If my Facebook persona has ever made me appear beautiful, together, or in any way like an uber-mom, I apologize. If I have ever made anyone feel bad about themselves from comparison to this facade, I apologize. Here are the facts: I spend half my day in my PJs, have cobwebs in my closet and ate a goldfish cracker off the floor about 20 minutes ago. My kids eat one hot meal a day. I find vacations to be stressful and trips to CostCo enjoyable. I have worn the same outfit three days in a row. However, I did do kind of a rad job refurbishing a night stand the other day so at least give me that. I'll have pictures tomorrow.
Good night, Internet. Maybe we don't need each other as much as we thought. I'd still french kiss you though.
Jenna Karvunidis is on Facebook!
Filed under: The Big Suburban Safari Experiment