The Downside of Digital Lives

How strange life can be with all the sudden and unexpected changes that are flung our way. I’m not just referring to the pandemic, which has indeed been a long, tiring, psycho-emotionally draining journey. Life is full of adventures, if you choose to view it that way, and if you love reading as much as I love writing, you can’t wait to see what the next chapter will bring. Sometimes, however, the anticipation of that next chapter can be scary and make your pulse race faster than a grand prix. 

I’m no coward when it comes to facing the music, but there are times I wish my life would slow down to a pleasant jazz or bossa nova stream rather than this wild metalhead concert I seem to find myself in these days. First my laptop totally gave up on me and was on the verge of exploding (the batteries were swollen) so it was time to replace the faithful old Macbook that had been a loyal companion and guardian of my creative processes since 2015. I had a couple of week of internet but no laptop, so i did everything via the mobile phone. Just when I got my hands on a refurbed Macbook and had everything up and running again, my iPhone 6 decided to have a digital coronary and downright died on me. It belonged to the same generation as the laptop, and was also purchased in Thailand, so I found it incredibly creepy that both devices conked out at almost the same time. It was as if I was being told by the greater forces of the universe to bury that chapter of my life once and for all. The death of the mobile phone was perfect timing though, because my contract was due for renewal so I didn’t have to shell out for a new phone, since the new contract came with one Once again my devices have been “born” in one and the same city, and this time it is Berlin. Let’s see where this takes me… 

I have a bad habit of moving furniture at odd hours and last night there was something wrong with my bed and mattresses, so I decided to fiddle around with them (at 02:00am). We have a saying here in Germany:  Kleine Sünden bestraft der liebe Gott sofort  (The Lord makes haste to punish the small sins) and the punishment for my impulsive behaviour was knocking over the WiFi router and breaking the pin of the coaxial cable. Well damn it all to hell! Now I find myself with perfectly functional and upgraded devices but no internet connection. Grrrrrr. The hardware shops are still under lockdown here in Berlin, so the earliest that Amazon can deliver is Tuesday. Sigh.  

These digital lives we live is a pain in the butt, and I resent how dependent we have become on the internet. Last month I had perfectly functional banking apps on the old mobile phone. So although the bottom line was rather dismal, I still had a normal access through the photo TAN app. With the migrated data to the new phone however, I lost the access to the banking apps and had to request new  ones. So now, not only am I digitally isolated due to the cut off WiFi I am also financially blocked by the bank because the new access codes haven’t arrived yet. Double grrrrr. Hotspots to the rescue! 

Gone too is the wonderful sunshine and clear blue skies with 17C that we enjoyed the past week. Just like that, without any warning whatsoever, I got up this morning and drew the blinds to feast my eyes on my beloved river, and was confronted with fog and 2C. Winter stood outside my balcony draped in cruel sarcasm, cackling “Oh so you think Spring was about to arrive did you?” Much as I am in awe of Winter, blown away by her dramatic beauty at times, she can be a total bitch, and all the river fowl agree. 

I turned down the heating in the apartment last week in order to save money, especially since the temperatures were quite pleasant. No need to spend more for heating when blankets and a hot mug of something will warm me up just as well. Well, I could have hurled my entire teapot at Winter this afternoon. My DIY tea light heater is back in service, and the cats and I are huddled together under the blankets. They too are wondering why we are not watching Criminal Minds re-runs and have settled down to listen to the tapping of the keyboard. I’m beginning to feel like one of the grandparents in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, snuggled under the blanket in bed and doing everything from there! Now where’s my golden ticket? 

Being without  internet is actually quite fortuitous. I found myself doing exactly what I have been pining for since December, and that is to be able to sleep in uninterrupted, read quietly in the conservatory, and write in absolute silence. This silence brought about by the lack of access to my internet radio or my entire music library (because it is stored in the cloud) is befitting to Lent, where abstinence is called for. I know I wrote about the superfluous nature of fasting during Lent these days for as long as we are still in lockdown, but a return silence is the best music for my soul. 

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