Losing It, By The Numbers

It has been four days since I got back to San Jose, only four days, and already I’m about to implode. In these ninety-six hours, I have accessed the internet twice outside of a coffee shop, once at Chris Whipple’s place (an apartment prospect) and once at an old office I once worked at in the KICU building in San Jose.

I have scanned through thousands of apartment and room ads on craigslist for San Jose, San Francisco and Santa Cruz, emailed about twenty that looked alright, and made two two-hour drives (traffic) to San Francisco to visit three of them.

In these ninety-six hours, I have put over four-hundred miles on my father’s Saturn, driving around in efforts to either get to internet access, get to friends, or get to apartments. I have seen three family members, nine friends, and about two-hundred cookie-cutter Los Gatos blondes.

I have made about eighty calls, left around thirty voicemail messages, and had nine people cancel plans with me. I have received forty-five work related emails and sent sixteen.

I have slept for twenty-six hours on a black faux-leather couch that is a bit too small. I have been asked how long I will be in town twenty-six times and haven’t a firm answer twenty-six times.

I have had to back out of one plan due to my age and have been carded once when ordering a coffee that apparently had some sort of alcohol in it.

I make no false pretenses, my life is intimately tied to the internet and having to leave my “house” to get it imposes significant threats on my mental health. This move has thrust me quite suddenly from a life where the internet is what lets me be free to one in which it has become a vice and I constantly have to find my next fix. It is a different set of rules when I have to plan my next three hour ‘dose’ of internet and know that I will have no time beyond that to interact with a city that is now (I can’t even google the distance because I am at home) something like a thousand miles away.

The abundance of connectivity has changed the way I think. Joi Ito once mentioned in his blog (I could get the url if I were able to connect right now) that because of Google he could take notes in a meeting that were incomplete because he knew he could look up the information later. That is how my mind works now and is also what I would argue to be the greatest goal of computers and the internet; the human mind can only deal with a certain amount of data at a time, by taking a larger concept and summarizing it into a manageable piece we can deal with the abstract pieces on a larger scale; computers let us work with the big picture by removing the need to work with the details. The internet, specifically, allows me to accept a problem as “solved” without having to know the answer, so when I go to write that Vancouver, is X miles away I can do so without worrying about what X is until after I have completed my thought.

Taking me away from the infinite outboard brain makes me feel damn near comatose; I know what is there without being to get to it. For any given concept I am thinking about, even trivially, there exists a barrier between the abstract and the concrete: it is like being locked in a library and not knowing how to read. I am forced to mill about blindly in a world of the blind. And yes, that is how I characterize those who don’t take advantage of what the internet has to offer, in all things beyond social interaction they don’t possess a sensory organ to find what they seek; what is seeing with one pair of eyes compared to seeing with millions?

This time of instability has to end soon. I am not on vacation, this is not acceptable. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am going out walking to find a hotspot and some grapefruit juice.

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