What's the city equivalent of being stranded on a desert island these days? It's being without a landline, Internet, or television service.
That was me last week, and I wasn't sure I'd survive. Yes, I had plenty of food, and I had electricity, and a warm bed, but it still felt like a desert island because it was so impossibly quiet. No email-message dings, no voicemail messages from carpet-cleaning services or political campaigns -- that was nice. Not so nice was no snappy dialogue from Modern Family, no Jon Stewart to give me the political highlights of the day, no weatherman to tell me about the winds blowing in, no House Hunters International to make me want to pick up and move across the world.
It took me awhile to get used to my new reality.
I mean, Jeez, I had to read a book.
With pages I actually had to turn.
And pay some bills with real checks that I put in the real mail. That's when I discovered how truly awful my awful handwriting had become.
OK, I did go to Starbuck's to read my email and make sure I wasn't missing one I shouldn't be missing -- but only briefly and only using my cellphone. Turns out, the lack of technology made me feel surprisingly quieter in my own head. I became -- dare I say it? -- less stressed and everything old was new again. The radio became my primary news source in the morning. My husband and I went out to dinner and it wasn't even Friday. We played with the dog. We talked. And I got the best sleep I've had in years.
I was about to ask my husband if he wanted to go out to the movies mid-week when I got the news that Verizon had repaired the problem.
Do I have to tell anyone yet? Nah, I thought. What's one more day?
But I caved 'cause I not only felt guilty, but I saw the volume of emails that came pouring in along with the restored service, which raised my stress level, which compelled me to catch up so I could stay on top of it all. Because if you fall behind -- well, you know.
As for the TV, I haven't turned that back on yet. And if my children are reading this, it's not because I don't know how to turn it on -- after years, I finally mastered the three-button thing. Besides, the nice man who fixed our service gave us a new remote where you only need to push one button. No, that's not why I haven't turned it on. It's because I'm savoring the silence.
And I need to finish my book, and that's sure easier without an email or call every five minutes.
So if you don't hear from me, it's because I've decided to stay stranded just a little bit longer.
And to voluntarily get stranded at least once a month from here on out.
Join me next week for another installment of The Pre-Empt Chronicles, as I transition from full house to empty nest. Visit me at sisterhoodofmothers.com