This post is about how the Internet makes me feel.
Warning: It might not make any sense.
Leslie: I think we should have a no computer night.
Leslie: I am just tired of looking at my computer screen.
Eric: Sounds good. What do you want to do?
Leslie: Oh, let me show you this cool thing I saw today!
I open my computer without thinking because I am suddenly so excited about the cool thing. Neither of us realizes what’s happening for 5 minutes.
Leslie: Oh man! I’m on my computer. Dang it.
We think this is funny and pretend like we’re in a Portlandia episode for the next 5 minutes (a show we watch on Netflix).
Then we stare at the walls, until we eventually decide to play a board game.
I have a little virtual world that I spend time in. If you’re not reading this from the cave you live in (it’s doubtful you’d have wi-fi in a cave), you probably have a virtual existence too. Here’s what I like: sub job searching, Facebook, email. Here’s what Eric and I both like: Netflix.
Last night I spent an hour clicking and refreshing my SubFinder account looking for jobs. You probably don’t know what this is, but don’t worry about it. It’s a mindless technology that trains substitute teachers to start salivating when they get a job, like monkeys. I got two. Jobs. In an hour of refreshing my screen. That’s a lot of clicks and staring at the computer and most of all anticipation for two days of work, but it paid off when for a split second my page refreshed with a job for me to click. My brain did a little gasp each time. Do you know what I mean?
When I log onto Facebook, my heart thrills when I see the notification icon. The higher the number, the better. If the red thing isn’t there, signaling that no one virtually communicated with me since my last log-in, my heart sinks just a little, in a “what now?” sort of conundrum. Because if I’m not careful, I’ll get sucked into reading peoples’ status updates and shares on my homepage for like a gazillion hours.
Finally, email. You hate even reading this right now because you don’t want to think about your email. It was enough that I wrote about Facebook and SubFinder in a blog post already, but now I’ve crossed the line.
I check my email 3-5 times a day. Sometimes I have a few. Most of the time I don’t. (I know, that’s weird right? It’s because I have 3 other email accounts filling up with the kind of emails no one wants to read, AKA spam. The one I like to check is for the emails I want to read. That’s why I don’t get a lot of email when I check it. They’re all going to my other accounts.) I check my email more frequently when I’m hoping someone will respond to something I’ve sent them. I actually love responding to email, probably because I like the sound of my own voice. Or because I love the way . . . I write email.
Notifications, sub jobs, emails. They all give me little bursts of endorphins in my brain. BURST!
But the stimuli are not always there. When I check all three and there is nothing new, I have mini-panic attacks, where I don’t know what to do with myself because I was planning on spending some time on the computer but then there’s nothing to do that gives me the same kind of little happy rush, and it wasn’t part of the plan to be doing anything else.
That’s why I’m blogging now. I just had one of those mini-panic attacks.
It’s probably not really a panic attack. It’s more of a something’s-missing feeling. Like when a smoker tries to quit smoking. I’ve heard that when an addict is trying to get well, they have to replace their addiction with something else in order to let go of the thing that was causing their addiction. When my grandma was quitting smoking (after she had a mastectomy to beat breast cancer), she had to keep Dum-Dum suckers around the house for something to put between her lips, to keep them occupied and distracted from her smokes. She shared them with me and I liked them a lot better than the smell of her second-hand smoke. You thought I was going to say I liked the suckers better than the cigarettes she shared with me. But that’s not what I was going to say. Stop judging my grandma just because she used to smoke.
That “What do I do now if I can’t do what I wanted to do and what I so enjoy doing other times?” feeling. Maybe blogging is like my sucker, something that feels like the other things I’ve been hooked on, but isn’t. Or maybe I’ve just added it to my list of vices, since I have so much more time to fill in this new post-grad season of life. I’ve noticed a lot of people starting blogs after finishing college. And they’re good blogs too, it’s not like they’re just filling the gap in these peoples’ post-college brains. It seems to be kind of an outlet for everything that’s been going into them the past 22+ years. And it’s brilliant, mostly. At least I think so.
I mean, I could vacuum. I kind of get a happy rush from vacuuming. Is that dumb? I really like it. If you ever come over, my floor is really clean. Just so you know.
But vacuuming’s kind of not the same as the Internet.
I like blogging because I get to tell a story, and in my mind my audience is captivated by it. In reality, probably like three people are going to read this. My mom and my mother in law and one other random person. (Moms, if you’re reading this, Hi! Thanks for liking my posts on Facebook! Sending my love.)
I want to be part of a story. A funny, meaningful, personal story. So I just wrote one. I just want to be me and I think I want someone to know. I’m looking for my story. I’m looking for you. Where IS everybody? Here I am, it’s ME and I am here, where ARE you. I smiled when I read your funny one-liner on Facebook but I wanted more. I wish I really knew you, everybody. I wish I could meet you in the light of day, instead of just getting a virtual impression of you, this one-sided version of our relationship that I think might be turning me into a selfish, disconnected person with attachment disorder. Internet, you’re fooling me. You’re fooling everybody.
This is how the Internet makes me feel.
I don’t know if this is making any sense, but hey if you’re out there in the Internet cave and you’re searching for something Google can’t find and you’re wondering – yes. You are brilliant. You are interesting and smart, cool and funny.
I think so.