Since the beckoning of the year 2014 and the onslaught of two distinct polar vortices, a term recently excavated from old meteorologic textbooks that has now entered Americans’ daily lexicon, I have been without working internet and land-line phone service.
“This couldn’t be more of a blessing”, was my primary thought. After all, it is almost impossible for me to embark on a job in a field that calls for years of experience that I cannot acquire without an external force; graduate school, which, God willing, will materialize within the next several months. Furthermore, I am trying in earnest to not intern yet again. I can no longer work such that my resume connotes a willingness to forever work for muft, the Urdu word for ‘free of charge.’ I use the Urdu word because when verbally stated, the sound better translates the exasperation I’m feeling; Refer to the English speaker’s transliteration of a sigh: Ugh — Bleh — Uuff.
Without my hours in transit during the throes of Fall’s interning season and void of any new comedic sketches, online news streams, and the influx of melodic Hindi and Punjabi tunes I only know how to access via YouTube, time emerged to make the seemingly far trek to the newly opened library in my locality, (that I had shunned due to a trivial loyalty to my college library), a possibility. I now had the time to read books. I ventured beyond the non-fiction shelves so that I could immerse myself in a fictional narrative taken from a character whose heritage could always be traced to nothing west of the Gulf region.
I also had no excuse to not exercise on a budget, or walk miles from home with the primary goal of returning less saturated with calories than I had been previously.
The walking paths I took, adjacent to avenues, alongside highways, parallel to boulevards, and dangerously close to intercepting the path of oncoming automobiles while bypassing snow-laden slivers of sidewalks, eventually caused me to become nonplussed. Perhaps I had too much time to think to myself because of my rationing use of the 4G data plan on my smart phone, thereby causing my legs to move in step with the frigid winds rather than percussion beats from tablas inherent to the composition of Shabads and Sufi kalams.
My walks began to feel as though I were not exercising but ambling about in an ill attempt to conjure up an active lifestyle of the dancer I once was and to compensate for the just-starting-out journalist who had mastered the language of email and Boolean logic for optimized web searches in order to fight every editor who continues to hold onto the reigns of their age-old tenure; feeling threatened by the promise of my shrinking youth as it were.
Without access to my social media platforms and online research hubs, I felt an ignorance begin to penetrate my being save for the saving grace that was the Columbia Journalism writing admissions exam. I managed to prep and sat down for the exam throughout the weeks that I found myself under a rock despite stepping on more miles of rock than most New Yorkers on my daily walking expeditions.
I became a simpleton in these weeks of simplicity.
It has been simplistic of me to suggest and believe that my knowledge-bank would form bad credit due to a couple of days without my favorite news anchors posting real-time tweets. The days seemed censored of every amount of productivity I had when not validated by the keyboard under the tips of my fingertips.
In parallel, it has been simplistic of me to believe that denying myself of any cuisine that isn’t salad, sauteed vegetables, and unsalted crackers, would cause me to qualify as a contestant for The Biggest Loser.
The simplicity has caused me to regress - the exposed ribs of skeletons’ past reflected in my own, so well known to me while meandering to and from courses and corners of cafes that housed the crackers I lived off of on the beaten path of cobblestones.
My first wave of relief and reprieve from the simpleton I feared I was becoming came in the guise of Wi-Fi waves yesterday. Despite the welcome addition to the household once more, I decided to dwell a tad bit longer in the realm of printed words, television sitcoms, walkable weather, and the winding down camaraderie amongst the public at the end of a long-weekend.
Last night, a commercial for an internet provider I had never heard of before was broadcasted. Their conclusion to the mini narrative was something along the lines of Internet no longer being a luxury, but a necessity.
The keyboard is strengthening my phalanges as my thoughts in entropy are no longer stringed into forced words for the sake of taking pen to paper.