I didn’t talk to Alissa last night.
We finally got connected to the internet yesterday, so when Alissa got home she naturally dropped her bag, took off her shoes, and booted up her laptop. I tried to kiss her, but my computer, the front door, and her laptop are not in a straight line. So the best I could do without leaving my computer was to bounce a kiss off my monitor. I think she caught the kiss. Can’t be sure, because I wasn’t looking. I was watching a video where these two kittens fight over a stuffed animal. Delightful!
A few hours later, I got an email from her. “Do we have anything to eat in the fridge?”
I didn’t know. I threw her some crackers.
She eventually fell asleep in the rocking chair. I couldn’t get the laptop out of her hands, so I just dragged the rocking chair into the bedroom and emailed her a sweet goodnight message.
This morning, we had a serious discussion. We were surprised at how we acted the night before, but more to the point, we recognized our life had changed pretty dramatically as a result of not having the internet for so long. For the past month, we cooked dinner, took walks around the city, and talked to each other about our day. I realize this doesn’t sound fun. But when you have no other options (a kitten playing in a box!), you have to fill your day with things that strengthen relationships.
In a non-connected world, you learn things about your significant other that you wouldn’t otherwise learn. For example, Alissa tells me she has a brother. I did not know this. He was apparently at our wedding. I hope to meet him one day, at a time when both of us have no access to internet-capable devices.
In a non-connected world, you are forced to explore the city on foot. What’s on the next corner, a bakery or a shoe store? Well, walk over there and see! And bring your wife along, because she’s bored too. Maybe you’ll find a playground with an awesome tire swing! The only children there will be those whose parents restrict internet access, and those children are easily bullied by adults. We can swing for hours!
In a non-connected world, you look for stimulation in places you normally ignore. Two weeks ago, we found a farmers market that sells super-hot peppers and fruit wines. And we’ve visited three or four festivals, from those with African themes, to summer fests, to fishmarket fairs. One booth was throwing fruit into the crowd, and I caught a pear. Another booth was throwing long sausage links. We stuffed them into our bag. They were delicious.
So we made a decision.
I’m posting this from Starbucks’ WiFi. I’m sipping tea and watching people pass by. On the way here, I saw a poster advertising a festival somewhere in Stuttgart. I wrote down the name, so we can check it out. We’ve disconnected our internet service. No more email from home. No more kittens playing with rabbits. No tracking earthquake data in real time. We’re going to live life together without the allure of instant information and entertainment.
Ha ha! Just kidding. I moved Alissa’s laptop so she’ll have to pass by for a kiss when she comes home. And I stocked the fridge with cheese and left packages of crackers scattered throughout the apartment. We’ll mark off a few hours per week to walk around the city and visit festivals. Unless they have a webcam hooked up, in which case we’ll hold hands and press “Refresh” for a few hours.
Oh neat! CNN has a new article up. I’m going to go read it. Something about a bank rate regulation scandal.
These crackers will make for a pretty decent lunch.