The Drum Beat of Technology

A couple of days without a full-fledged computer is troublesome, a fact that in and of itself is troublesome. Two days without a computer and my anxiety grows like kudzu! I think a break is in order, a meditative intervention that would sever the ties to electronic devices. Perhaps a cold-turkey withdrawal from telecommunications gadgetry might sooth my restive spirit and connect me with humanity in a way that’s impossible while staring at soulless screens and punching messages into integrated keyboards. This is all a fantasy, of course. I’m too deeply invested in knowing things I do not need to know and keeping tracks of activities that have no bearing on my day-to-day life except robbing me of time to contemplate and think and mull things over.  Bah!

I’m grateful to have my computer back. Having a working device in front of me allows me to complete newsletters and send blast emails about meetings I cannot attend because I’m more than six hundred miles away from the meeting spots. So, I’m living vicariously through a device that connects me only to the extent that it enables me to do jobs for which I’m not paid and which I’m doing only because no one else would. Something is wrong with this. Not that I don’t like playing with the computer, but playing because no one else will seems forced. I like tomatoes, too, but would be quite unhappy if I were forced to grow them to feed people who enjoy them but dislike gardening. Am I stream-of-consciousness-spinning-out? I guess so. Tomatoes are so very, very good, though. I might be willing to work as a migrant tomato picker if I were allowed to keep sixty percent of my haul. Probably not for long, though.  I suspect I’d plan a breakout. And thanks to my big mouth and trusting the wrong people, my escape plan would be found out and I’d be put in the “hole” for a week or more with nothing but bread and watercress.

They tell me I should sit down and write, regardless of what I write. Just write, “they” say. They are imaginary beings. They don’t care whether I write or not. They exist only in the minds of wannabe writers who lack discipline, knowledge, language skills, and ideas. “They” are not to be trusted. In fact, they should be captured and shackled to the deck of sinking ship. I once wrote a story that included a scene in which a young man shackled his mother to the deck of a barge that is then set loose on the open sea. That’s not the kind of son a mother wants to have. Nor is he the sort of son a father dreams of, I think. I can’t be sure, though, having never been a father. But I’ve been an uncle. And I can say with certainty it’s nothing an uncle like me wants relatives who would do such horrendous things.

I shall return to the hospital this afternoon for a brief visit with my brother. I still have no sense of when he will be released and where he will go upon his release. I’m still beating the drum for residential rehab, but my drum beat isn’t being heard, I’m afraid.

Enough for now. Maybe more later. Maybe not.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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