I have spent four days laid up in bed alternating between being completely knocked out with sleep medication and a floating, dreamy wakefulness where I am not quite sure that I am awake. My muscles are so relaxed that I am not able to squeeze a lemon into my lemon tea. While my brain is conscious of the Earth spinning, my body is not geared to compensate for the sensation, and so I find it hard to move without assistance. It’s a sleepy-wakey place that I am in and I am cheating a bit by consciously not distinguishing between the real and the imagined. There are no limits, no constraints, and no rights or wrongs; only infinite possibilities. I can think/dream/imagine what I like and follow up on whatever catches my fancy. Come to think of it, it is pretty much like being on the Internet.
The meds are supposed to help me sleep, but the problem is that my mind is incapable of not thinking, and even though it is really woozy, it still insists on plodding through all kinds of muddled thoughts. They are really badly entangled: it is not clear which ones I am thinking when awake and which ones when asleep.
Since I am not at my scintillating best, I don’t much care for physical company at the moment. But company on chat is perfect. My laptop and mobile phone are on. A ping tells me there is a message on Messenger from someone who has time for me today and wishes to connect. I will engage if it is someone close to me with whom I want to communicate, or respond with ‘ttyl’ if it is someone I care about, but am not in a mood to connect with (I will, out of habit, make sure that they are not in dire need of connecting with me though, or looking for comfort from me). I like the fact that I have the choice. There is no need for obligatory communication and interaction with people since it is vacation time and I am not at my workplace.
Technology is a blessing and the digital world is a great place. Very comfortable. Infinite in scope. Without boundaries. Nothing stopping me from seeking and exploring anything I want to, including stuff I can never explore in any other forum or platform through discussion or communication. People say the Internet is unhealthy and cite umpteen reasons. I don’t know about them. I like it. It’s so much knowledge within such easy reach. So unassuming, non-competitive, non-judgmental; just there to give information away. All you have to do is ask. And it doesn’t argue or exasperate me with comments on my shortcomings or weirdness.
I love Facebook too. Bless Mark Zuckerberg. For some reason, it makes me happy to see pictures of people having a good time. Adorable kids, cute animals, pretty women, brawny men, brainy people, opinions, information, news, arguments…all of it. It’s fun. And you don’t have to say a word: just observe, or interact if you want to. At the moment, I am lucid enough to engage in a short dialogue on a topic of interest with someone I have not met in decades or never met at all, but who is on my FB list of friends. I don’t have to make small talk or know about them. I can interact based only on the opinion or comment that piqued my interest. I like that choice too.
Dozed for a bit, sliding in and out of sleep. Followed a couple of links on Twitter. Reddit has interesting threads on science and art that my son told me to look up. So does Quora. Some interesting pins on Pinterest in my mail. And my daily feel-good message from TUT (The Universe Talks) is waiting to be opened. So much input and not a word spoken out loud! I like the silence in my surroundings. And all the noises in my head. The latter is most comforting as it is my way of knowing that I am fine; merely physically off-balance. It is a minor problem.
Though I am perfectly happy with the Internet being my friend, I acknowledge that it cannot replace the back and forth conversation that human connect allows. For all its awesomeness, it is, in the end, only a wonderful resource. I love it, but it cannot replace a friend whose presence adds so much more value and so many more dimensions to an exchange in the form of a conversation. I am not yet a recluse and it is important to me to have a thinking mind on the other end of the line. There has to be a face, with a personality and character. And presence. I am not a ‘Dear Diary’ kind of person who can write thoughts addressed to a diary. It is a quest to seek and find that person you can turn to in the first place; your intellectual superior. It makes me panic a little not to find a known face that fits that description in the crowd. The idea that that face does not exist or is beyond my reach makes my head spin.
While the Internet is comfortably non-threatening as my go-to resource, the flipside to having a live, real, thinking, responding human, on the other hand, complicates matters. And though it is a fact that differences are the fuel that drive us to new discoveries, it is also true that different people interpret actions, behaviours, attitudes, words, intentions, ideas, and beliefs in different ways. When we make mistakes in interpreting meaning, we engage in debate and explanations leading to new discoveries, both about the meaning and about the other person. Sometimes, the same conversation can hold entirely different meaning to two people.
It is difficult to understand why people won’t accept that differences are fine; you don’t have to make someone come around to your point of view or be the way you want them to be. In this not-okay-with-you-being-you scenario, when views and opinions clash, it is just too much work to explain where you are coming from. To justify and apologise for things that make you who you are. You lose spontaneity in working too hard at keeping connections alive by continuously modifying behaviour and being overly cautious about what is said, lest the other person take offence. Then, when you stop and look, you find it is no longer you that you see in the mirror, but someone else’s distorted version of you because you were trying to be that person for them. You compromise on many of your fundamental traits. You cease being spontaneous, impulsive and real. You become painfully conscious of being weird, unlikable and flawed.
My TUT note says, ‘Would it be as much fun if you were never alone? If you never heard the whole truth when it hurt? If you always knew what would happen, what to do, and where to go? Relish the quiet, enjoy the mysteries and welcome the whole truth.’
I think I shall take that advice to heart and stop debating on Internet vs a real person. Yes, that is what I was trying to write on.
I ought to relish the quiet and enjoy the mysteries as advised. Maybe there is a truth that will reveal itself if I wait patiently.
And if you are thinking that this post makes no sense and are wondering what its purpose is, well, I don’t really know, since these are musings of a woozy and wandering mind.