I just realized it’s been quite a while since I wrote my last blog post. I’ve been on the road traveling and had no Internet access or even a TV. I think the last time I did this was years ago when I was backpacking through New Zealand. I didn’t exactly do it on purpose, but the places I stayed didn’t have either one.
Funny, I did have a phone, but no one called me all week. I was already getting to the point that I thought many people have stopped connecting to each other. And after stepping back and watching the world go by in my week without TV or Internet I realized I was right.
You would think by the way I’m talking that I was on a mountaintop in Siberia, but no, it was New York City, Washington, D.C. and places in between. I stayed in B and Bs and hotels in the middle of nowhere with no Internet access and bad cable reception.
I took more planes, trains and buses in a week than I’ve taken all year long. I had numerous hours to people watch. Even when couples were together they were both texting non-stop. I couldn’t help but wonder who they were texting that was more interesting than the person they were with. Or maybe they were texting each other. This went on at restaurants too. I was especially impressed with the people who could dodge NY traffic while texting and not run into a lightpost.
The first couple of days without email was weird. I felt disconnected to the world. The same with the TV. I have gotten used to the drone of it in the background, even when I’m not watching it. It still makes me feel like there are people around and I can check it occasionally to see what’s going on in the world. What was amazing is how much can change in a week.
After a few days of Internet and TV detox I felt like I had to start connecting with others. That’s when I started making an effort to talk to strangers. Most people loved the fact that a perfect stranger was taking an interest in them and really, really listening. And because I was open to it I heard some great stories.
A woman on the bus told me that she had just gotten back from Maine where she spent the month cleaning out her mother’s house after her death. Apparently some burglars had broken into the vacant house and left the door open. There was nothing for the burglars to steal, but a family of wild raccoons saw it as an oasis in the middle of the forest. They clawed up everything in sight and were worse than a frat party gone wild.
When the woman got to the house she said she kept hearing footsteps in the attic and in between the walls. See, the backstory here was that the burglars were after some gold that was suppose to be hidden somewhere in the house. And they had knocked down part of the wall looking for it. Whether they found it or not, nobody knows.
Another woman on the plane told me she was on her way to a doggie wedding. She had pictures of the “bride and groom” on her cell phone and had a present of treats and bones to give the newly married couple.
Then I walked down to the village in NY to see a play without knowing anything about it. When I told the lady at the box office I just picked it because I liked the name, a lady behind me thought they was interesting, because she had done the same thing. Neither one of us had a clue what it was about. She invited me to sit with her wild, Bohemian friends so I wouldn’t have to be alone.
After a week of being shut off from the world in one way, I can say that I learned to connect in another. I would definitely suggest doing it for at least a week. Connect with the world face to face. Really listen and observe. Make new friends. And see things in a different way.