the internet is working as expected
There were smiles everywhere.
The side streets and sidewalks were bustling. The playground at the school was packed. Wild bands of helmetless, brazen teens rolled down the middle of usually busy streets on scooters. The drone of a dozen gennies droned in the background.
No try-outs, no conditioning skates, no brownies, guides, scouts or soccer. People were talking with each other. People were out and about. Neighbours were helping each other remove brush, junk up timber and bring down leaning trees.
No one had any mobile phone connectivity at all.
It was glorious and torturous.
The handheld mobile device that you’re likely reading this on?
Smash it now.
Well. Finish reading and smash it right away.
The damn thing wasn’t working for the last two days. I did not realize the difference it made in my life.
Every time you check it, you get a chemical dump in your brain. Cortisol or endorphins.
Walking around with a useless phone was almost like quitting smoking cold turkey.
I couldn’t hear from things that I’ve been following around the world. And ya know what? It didn’t matter. My attention to the NHL training camps, the Toronto Raptors, the plight of the Ukranians, or the implications of a foreign government’s supreme court decision about abortion, or any of the bullshit there?
It does not matter. My attention has no impact on the course of events.
We should all tattoo this to each others faces: My concern and attention does nothing. My attention does as much as the NRA’s post mass shooting statements of ‘thoughts and prayers.’
Having my ability to pay attention removed was a gift. I delight in it every time it happens.
All my attention to there merely supports the multinational advertisers and the platforms that monetize my eyes.
Walking the dogs last night I was struck by the stillness. We humans use a lot of extra energy. We light streets that don’t need lighting. We light the fronts of our buildings to make them look cool. People leave lights on inside and out all the time.
Last night was different. A few homes had a little light coming from them. The LED streetlights1 were gone. The stars were so clear. I felt small and vulnerable. Small, vulnerable, fragile, limited and so human.
It would be wonderful if we spent more time with the lights out looking at the stars. It would be even better if we shared energy and occasionally had some community campfires and spent time gazing at the vastness of the universe with awe and wonder.
Perhaps then we could turn our attention away from down and in towards our phones and distant connections that can be disrupted or destroyed in an instant. Instead, we could look up and out and spend more time considering our place amongst the stars.
Yesterday, with the internet broken and all of the mobile phones glitching, we got to experience just how broken the damn thing is.
Thank you so much for your time and attention.
I hate LED streetlights. The quality of light from them is terrible. Sure, they save energy and money, but I’d rather have dark streets than LED streetlights.