Monday – Datastream Withdrawal


There is a certain disconnection in my life whenever I leave the mancave and embark on some sort of journey. Whether I’m fucking around in Cow Country, or I’m meandering the marshes of Nova Scotia, I am decidedly unplugged. And I’m not sure I particularly dislike it.

Most of the time.

I’m a Twitter fiend. I don’t really use it to convey my feelings or what I’m doing. Seldom will you see me all,

Just took a shit. Used my hand to wipe up, toilet paper couldn’t handle the sludge.


Sam wasn’t happy when I ripped ass at the dinner table with her Dad, LOL.

Just not my thing. I’m already self-indulgent enough thinking people care about my analysis of banal news and stifling non-stories.

But I use Twitter to actively and obsessively garner the latest news from a variety of venues. What’s the latest word from Destructoid? What’s my other blogging situation over at Mishka sporting right now? And unmentioned but equally as important in personal mind-numbing minutiae is sporting news.

Open Twitter. Click refresh. Click refresh. Open Firefox. Click refresh. Click refresh.

I don’t think that this is a behavior particular to me. We all dabble in data streams these days without even realizing it. Open Facebook. Open MySpace. Open Twitter. Get the latest news. Get the latest status updates.

When I first leave, I brace for impact. Data crash. Information withdrawal. As I hurtle further and further down the highway, or skyway, or waterway, my parents’ basement recedes further into the distance.

I cry a single tear and mourn the loss of my computer, my comfortable set-up. Sure there are other computers I can hop on, check the e-mail. But it’s not the same. I’ve often remarked that I could physically move these days a countless number of times and not mind, so long as I had MY computer. MY mouse. MY phone. My life isn’t the room I’m sitting anymore; it’s the computer I’m sitting on. I equate comfortableness with the alignment of my icons on the taskbar, my wallpaper waiting for me when I boot up the computer.

It’s sad, or maybe it simply is. Maybe that’s just the way the world is swinging these days. Who knows. Give me my iMac and my keyboard and I’m ready to handle shit. Typing this mindless goop right here on a computer not my own is like sleeping in a bed not belonging to me. It’s a bed, it serves a purpose. But it isn’t mine.

The further I get away from my computer, the instantly-refresh lifestyle that my generation is buried in, the more it becomes okay. The desire to incessantly interact with the same five stories on thirteen different sites (including this here shit box) fades into the back of my mind.

And for the moment, silence.

I’ve had the internet for half my life, And yet I can’t envision evenings without information surfing, without internet gaming, without formless music files and stolen television shows taken from some thing called a server and some place called I don’t know.

But then I just sort of adjust. Accept the lack of connection.

This is what I’ve noticed, though.

At least for myself, the new modern mindset is an all-or-nothing game. I can either withdraw from it completely, or I need to bask in its entirety. All the time. There isn’t some happy medium where I can dip my toe into the information wildlife and be satisfied.

When I withdraw, I simply accept that there is a world occurring outside of my perceptions. This is okay. There are countless worlds existing outside of my awareness. Okay, whatever. Deep breathes. But then I make the mistake of checking my Twitter or my preferred websites.

Information overload. Holy shit I think to myself, I’m missing fucking everything. There’s all this news and holy shit oh my god and what am I going to do. I belong to a generation where we all think our voices matter. Reality television and superstars made from nothing, famous for nothing has made sure of this. So when I realize I’m missing something, I fear egotistically that the world has left me behind. Like I even matter, like that should even matter.

I don’t stop to consider the importance of these news stories. It doesn’t really matter in the long run if I miss the newest batch of Bayonetta pictures or the latest trailer for Movie X. It really doesn’t. But I can’t help it.

So you’re either in, or you’re out. Because to dabble in it, to play around in the whirlwind is to get the nauseating feeling that you’re missing out. On what? You don’t know. Existence, maybe? The new existence? Which is dedicated to churning over non-topics and interactions typified by short smashes of the keyboard or keypad into status update boxes.

I remember going to Nova Scotia this past August. Samantha and I had a minimal interaction with the new universe. We barely used our phones, due to extravagant fees from an international plan. I’d check the internet for e-mail, that’s about it. And we didn’t mind.

“It was sort of nice,” she said to me. And I nodded in agreement.

You should have seen us the moment our ferry arrived in Portland, ME. Once that motherfucking “3G” symbol lit up on our iPhones, it was like we had just taken another hit of heroin. We were back baby, we were back.

For all our blustering about not missing the connection, we sure threw that to the wind oh-so-quickly.

“Just checking Twitter” because sitting around in the customs line refreshing Twitter. Updating Twitter. Barking at the phone that dared to load up Internet pages slowly. A trip that had been punctuated by thoughtful silences was now filled with the new non-neglect of checking your information streams continuously next to friends, loved ones.

We sat in silence, once again feeding on the same slop we thought we didn’t need. We call this connection.