I retreated to my room one evening after my dinner and noticed that my messages weren’t going through. I thought that the Wifi was just slow, but there wasn’t any Wifi at all, as it turned out. In such situations, I would just go somewhere to get the signal of guest Wifi (because they could let the staff suffer without the WIFI but not the guests) or purchase data. But that night, I thought I’d just stay in my room and switch off from the world.
It was disorienting at first, to be honest. I felt a bit restless when no notifications were showing up on my phone. What if my friends were sending messages, or if my agents have urgent inquiries and couldn’t get through me? It took me a bit of time to settle to the silence of my phone.
It sounds strange, but it’s pretty distracting without any distractions. I always thought that my quiet evenings with my book and guitar are sort of my ‘switch off’ from the world. But thinking about it, I was still actually checking my phone from time to time even while reading or playing. So, that night was an actual switch-off.
I took my guitar and played some songs from my songbook (because I’m bad at remembering chords and I cannot play by ear). And by the time I wanted to sing songs that were not on my songbook, the first thing on my mind was to go to ultimateguitar.com. I didn’t even want to discover the chords on my own. I just wanted a quick fix, and that was to search the song on that site and just read the chords. It’s good that we have the information at the tip of our fingers nowadays, but it’s also alarming that we rely heavily on the internet. Song chords, recipes, tutorials, everything can be found online now, which is cool, actually. But we are losing the fun of discovering things by ourselves. We are losing the pleasure of going through the process because we always take the shortcut, and that is to look online.
That night reminded me of my teenage years when I would sit on a beige 3-seater cofta bench at the garage after having dinner and washing the dishes. My guitar and song hits would be my company. My world was limited to what I could see, hear and feel; the light of the garage’s fluorescent lamp, the sound of the TV, and the laughter of teenage boys outside practicing the latest dance moves they saw from Streetboys. I didn’t know what was happening on the other side of the planet. I didn’t even know how vast this world is.
Life was simple back then when we were all offline. But I could not discount the fact that technology has also made our lives easier, we just have to go online. Sounds ironic.
It’s quite disturbing that I feel uneasy without being able to connect online. I thought I am a well-balanced person in terms of social media and online stuff. But it seems otherwise. Maybe I have to switch off more often.