Tuesday, March 17, 2015
Returning from the bathroom at 3:08 a.m., you check the iPad by your bed, more out of daytime habit than need or expectation. No emails, no notifications. Same with your pre-smartphone "device." No messages or calls silently announced (because you purposely dictate silence in the night hours, though that carries a risk of not learning of a dire need or catastrophe, personal or global). Arousing from a slumber, late, just before 8:30, you check again while lounging in bed, warmly enveloped under layers of flannel sheet, comforter, and thin quilt. Again, nothing. No white numeral embedded in the red alert circle in the upper right of the tablet's mail app; no announcement bars of missed calls or messages on the outdated unsmartphone that people mistakenly think is a Blackberry. You have your standard breakfast: Heidelberg Cracked Wheat toasted; three slices, all with Earth Balance Original spread, one with Welch's grape jelly; Simply Balanced organic black tea; a dash of whole milk; grapes. As is your custom, while you eat you partake of a digital fast, ignoring blips or pops or other notifications, which you make aurally available now that you are mobile and inching toward awakeness. After breakfast, you check again. Nothing. No emails, alerts, notifications. You attribute this to a legion of logical explanations (others' busyness, server issues, expirations, wifi seizures, unpaid subscriber services, spam, memory lapse, lack of directness or clarity toward the outside world), but after only the third day of this white space, this barren digital plain -- three infinitely long days, mind you! -- you begin to wonder who you were, or are, as you take a tissue and wipe the Richard-Nixon-like sweat that has begun to bead on your upper lip.