Or how I kill the postman because I love you
NOWADAYS I regularly “disconnect” myself from the digital atmosphere. When I write, I ignore my BlackBerry. I ignore the flashing screen that signals a call. I ignore the instant or text messages that have just arrived. I silence my BlackBerry so that none of your calls would interrupt my thoughts. All these even though I paid fees out of my own pocket to stay connected to a place, a universe, a womb that is brimming with everyone’s thoughts. Because the device is my own.
But does it mean if you foot the device for me, I will have to remain connected to you forever?
SOMETIMES I even remove my work phone from its cradle, destroying its raison d’etre. When is a phone not a phone? When you remove it from its cradle, that’s when. A child pulled out of the womb prematurely, it becomes no more than a plastic object with some wires sticking out of it. It takes up prime real estate on my shrinking desk that has been occupied by foreign objects – press releases, magazines, papers, letters, invitations to launches, things to do, food to keep me at my desk, personal belongings to personalise the war zone (bleary badges of honour that also serves to keep people away). It just crossed my mind that I should dump it into the trash bin when this happens but I still need it to foray outside. I don’t write all the time, you see.
Put the phone back into its cradle and all’s well with the world. God’s in his place.
OCCASIONALLY I put on my headphones that can shut out any type of noise unless it is a screaming child trying to out-scream a chugging MRT in an underground tunnel. Earphones are useless because conversations and calls still filter through the music. But with headphones, you can call me all you want but I cannot hear you. I cannot hear your wants, your desires of me. For added effect, I choose a song from my iTunes library and loop it. for as long as I’m writing. Then I hear nothing but the song I want to hear, the mood I wish to evoke, my wants, my desires of myself. I will fulfill my emptiness through words, letting them do my labour in my proxy and hope that someday, one day, someone understands it.
Don’t we all? We write in different forms. Some call out, some tweet, some update their Facebook status, some whatsapp, some “tumblr”, reposting pictures that caught their fancy, mirrored their thoughts. Write – is it both wrong and right all the time? There’s no black and white – only liminality.
ONCE in a while, I log off instant messaging as well. I have already made my exit from MSN Messenger a long time ago (and to think I used to spend hours on it chatting). I avoid your blinking messages, unread. They might as well have not been delivered because I killed the postman, your letter undelivered in his bag.
WHEN you succeed in getting my attention, I answer your query with the briefest moment I can spare. A brief departure from my world into yours. It is not that I don’t love you. I do. Your company, your jokes. I love that you are in my life. That I have met you. That you are reshaping my moments, my paradigms with your presence. Some of you may have left but rest assured, traces of you remain, affecting every decision I make.
IN sum I do all this, shut you out with technology, the other edge of the sword that so cleaved you to me, so that your thoughts, your psychic world, thus manifested, would not interrupt the birth of mine. No stillbirth. No punctuation but lots of commas, I wait for your waiting. Writing is selfish (and so is reading for that matter). I don’t send out every 140 characters that I have just typed (neither do I send out every 140 characters that I’ve just read). I do that at the end of the process when the task is complete and when I want you to know that I’ve done so, that the child is ready to be seen and heard by you.
I find myself shutting you out more and more, pitting technology against technology.
HOWEVER at the end of the birth, I hope you’re understanding of my need to write selfishly. I would still like to converse with you, to reconnect with you, to share gossip or to just engage in nothing. To engage to disenage. To tweet, to update Facebook status and to love. Because sometimes, I do write about you.