Two whole scandalous weeks without a peep on this indulgent corner of the Web: forgive me, Father, for I have sinned.
Or have I?
You are the phenomenon that manages to make me feel wildly unproductive whether or not I’m online – when without WiFi, or over my mobile data limit (I surely owe Vodafone $500 right now), my brain is spewing out the to-do’s, to-see’s and to-buy’s for our next click-marathon. Then, when I’m finally connected, I’m too paralysed by photos of Miley Cyrus’ turkey butt and Doutzen Kroes to eat, sleep or move. You have the power to make and break entire careers, tween sensations, multi-millions, Kris Jenner gifs, and drop-crotch pants. And for this, I’m damn grateful – because what the hell’s to love about falling down the rabbit hole of twelve-year-old Instagram cheerleaders with better abs than you? Forbes’ 15 under 15, anyone?
You’re also the reason that everybody hates Gen Y (though, between you and I, I quite like that). Traditional commerce, retail, media, enterprise, you name it, who are yet to decode your inner workings and Kali-limbs of social networking dismiss all of its addicts as “commercially frustrating” and “too difficult a target market” to throw any dollar bills at. They only know that Instagram is worth $1 billion, but don’t understand why. They blindly “invest” in digital start-ups. They desparately set up online supplements to “have that audience covered”. They justify all irrational interactions with you on their “30 years of experience” before your inception. They fail. They dismiss you, the entire generation and its ideas as lazy and fad-driven.
I will say, too, that you’ve warped my sense of perfection, in the same way that New York’s dating culture has increased the incidence of wildly successful cat ladies (they do not know this yet). There’s always something better. Not good enough. Keep looking. That tweet Perhaps one of the other thousand online stores will save me twenty bucks on that Proenza Schouler. There will always be a sexier Russian dating site profile picture. The dessert my boyfriend chooses will most certainly be more edible post-#foodstagram. And so ensues that sinking sickness of #FOMO when you disastrously don’t choose the red pill, and Morpheus turns out to be Othello (I am yet to recover from this revelation), and the panicked scramble to fill the void thereafter.
This usually involves plummeting bank balances.
In July, somewhere between croissants and tajines, I tasted the temptation of life without you. Though I tried (oh I tried) for hours each night to feed my addiction, European WiFi would not succumb to the blaring irony of 24.3 megapixel selfies and staged candids. Alex confiscated my laptop and only allowed one Instagram per day. My readers without Instagram (what?!) took my blog silence as my having died in the Sahara, and reached out with concerned Tumblr questions and Twitter condolences for what must certainly be a very difficult time in my life. Meanwhile, I was stuffing my face with Moroccan honeyed pancakes before Alex could even get his phone in.
Last week, I did nothing and everything. I had real sans-Whatsapp-emoji-war conversations with friends and world travelers. I ate food without my chair-standing aerial foodie photo ritual prior. I got eight hours of sleep every damn night. My laptop didn’t see the light of day and neither did you. While I did go out of my way to document at least four four-by-four moments a day, I didn’t once ponder what portion of my SD cards ought to be uploaded for public enjoyment. Just sweet, selfish vegetation by the pool, buried in young coconuts and mango-papaya salads.
Internet addicts would call that irresponsible. Hell, I would call it irresponsible if Chiang Mai’s mountain sunsets weren’t so flawlessly breathtaking, if Sri Panwa weren’t heaven on Earth, and if the dim sum across the road from our hotel in Hong Kong weren’t so all-consuming. It’s my duty to be across all of your channels to the minute, and respond accordingly for the world to see. Perhaps, a second cry for realness in your superficial embrace.
But, you give great hugs. I’m still on my knees asking that you please, please, take me back.
I crave your highs that come with analytics and cyber-human interaction. I’m back for more. You got me.
I will pay you in Thai sunsets and silhouettes.