I turn 29 years old today, and for my birthday, life gave me a gift.
Haha, just kidding. But wouldn't it be awesome if, in my dotage, softened by life and stupefied by frosting, I started writing that way?
I'm only half serious. (Potential title of my memoirs, for any reputable publishing houses taking note.) You may have noticed my absence from the site for, oh, I don't know, all of last week. I was absent, too, from THE WHOLE INTERNET, and transitively, THE WORLD.
Here's what happened: I planned a Europe for my birthday. And by me, I mean more responsible traveling companions, who have daily made sure I have things to eat, places to sleep, and don't Amelia Bedelia myself into Thai jail.
My friends suggested that maybe this would be a good opportunity for me to leave my MacBook at home, to tell my employers this was a vacation where I'd be unavailable and to unplug for a whole week.
I told them no -- that I would need to work while I was traveling, because when you're a freelancer, there is no such thing as a holiday. This was kind of a lie. For one thing, freelancers are allowed to take vacations. (The employees at Julieanne Corp often work pantsless and take copious three-hour ice-cream sandwich breaks. It's practically Google.)
I was mostly just completely, utterly wigged out about not being online for a week. I am that sad.
They made sure that the house where we'd spend the first leg of the trip had Internet access, and assured me I could work from airports and on planes. I had no reason not to believe them -- I think they just kind of assume that Europe is like San Francisco, microwaved, and has all this sweet free stuff like free public transportation and unlimited WiFi.
Alas, the night before my flight out of New York City, I went out, and ended up leaving my phone at a dude's apartment. I know what you're thinking: Hey, Julieanne. Why would you go out and go to a dude's apartment the night before an International flight? And my answer to you is that I am a particular brand of stupid that is still being studied by science. The good news is that I may get featured in a textbook, naked with my eyes covered in a bar, with a fun new Latinate disease named after me. Like Whorestralopithecus, or Homo slagheap, also known as the Common Domestic Spaz.
I didn't have time to go back to my house, get my stuff, and still make it to JFK (although I tried, but the consensus in the car was that we were cutting it too close. Also, that I was a dumb slut who almost made us miss our flight with my whoring. I love my friends/family.) So my phone is still in America, where some poor guy is probably getting alerts from my PeriodTracker app reminding me that I'm in my luteal phase. I am trying not to think about it.
It turned out that our flight was delayed, so I figured I'd spend the time getting some work done in the Chili's to Go. Not so -- the WiFi in the terminal was on the fritz (possibly because of the same weather that had grounded half the airport). No worries, I thought, picking dejectedly at the last gross American food I'd have to eat for many moons. I'll just Internet on the plane.
But alas, "No Internet on Delta international flights," as I was crossly told by a tiny, older flight attendant who smelled of merguez sausage and career fatigue from 20-odd years of people bitching about leg room and working in an enclosed tube of farts and passive aggression.
You guys know how I am with the Internet -- it is my friend and confidant, my boyfriend and my grandmother, my sin, my soul. In-ter-net. I honestly canont remember the last time I went a solid 24 without Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, email, et cetera, to say nothing of texting (and then blogging the subsequent texts). It's sick. A Dateline producer actually called me after that Internet addiction post, and I laughed her off a little, like, "I don't REALLY have a problem, lady, don't believe everything you read," like some kind of starlet trying to convince Matt Lauer she doesn't have a meth problem. (Matt KNOWS I have meth problem.)
Anyhow, my hands were starting to twitch about now. I watched two Louis CK specials and dreamt of Europe and its myriad wireless hotspots.
But when we got to the house in France, MANY HOURS LATER, a traveling companion of mine who shall remain nameless had a little too much wine. Her first order of business was to decide the router was a power strip and to try to drag it down to the pool so we could listen to music. The Internet went out, and the poor German caretakers had no idea how to get it back on.
In little towns here and there, I was able to cadge a few moments on from my friends' exorbitantly expensive iPhone international data plans. (Posting a self-portrait of me with a baguette on Facebook cost one of them roughly $1,300.) I was INSANELY bitchy for two whole days, crabbing my way through Roman ruins and medieval sculpture gardens all because I had no idea whether or not Sinbad was still following me on Twitter, or if any celebrities had hit each other in the face with vodka bottles.
It was a horrible, awful, privileged person thing to do, and I feel fairly disgusting for it. Moreover, it was not even borderline, jokey addict behavior. I had full-on tachycardia and nightmares. Pathetic, pathetic stuff. I'm on my first real vacation in years, and I was panicking at night about not being able to get into Chase Mobile or email Corynne -- let's be honest -- sexts.
When I finally checked my inbox last night, I had close to 300 emails. I was very sad to hear about Nora Ephron, and very happy to hear about Adele and some of the more favorable supreme court decisions, but otherwise, I felt like I hadn't really missed much. There was no overwhelming sense of relief -- my eyes didn't flutter to half-mast, my body did not go blissfully slack. I was not inspired to write a "White Light/White Heat" style album with song titles like, "What If My Facebook Crush Got a Haircut" or "I Can't Believe I Can't Make a Gif of This." I guess I'm glad there was a vast global conspiracy to keep me from seeing if any cute dudes "poked" me.
Even though, as I kept shouting, "THE INTERNET IS MY LIVELIHOOD!", I felt like an asshole. I'm having such a great time here, and I feel like I may have gotten a little perspective and a lot of free, accidental detox. You know, from the universe.
Anyhow, I missed you guys. Apparently Emily has replaced me as resident boob-flasher. I guess I deserved that.
Now go play outside.
My Week Without Phones or Internet (I'm Alive!)
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