tagNon-EroticThe Indoor Age

The Indoor Age

byChicklet©

The following is a true story that happened to yours truly, the author. It was quite a nightmare, but by actually writing about it I think that I can get over the trauma. Read the note to you at the end.

I came home to find my electricity had just clicked off. Upstairs, my computer, source of joy in my small life, beeped pitifully as the back-up power struggled to convince me to bring the real power back. It beeped again, seeming to realize that it’s time was short, and that it’s life would end soon if I didn’t give it the direct attention that it needed. Unfortunately, as I flipped the light switch up and down, I realized that I was not in a position to help it out.

“Beep,” it said again.

“Shut up,” I replied irritably, searching through the apartment for any electricity at all. None was found.

Neither the computer nor I seemed to reach a compromise, as I was not going to magically turn the power on, nor was it going to stop it’s complaints. My hair pulling seemed to be the only way to deal with the computer’s pain. At least our pain would be mutual.

A neighbor who was sharing my confusion over the loss of her blow drier knocked on my door and explained that she had called the power company and discovered that due to some mistake somewhere in the stupid city we lived in, the power would be off for an entire hour and a half. No computer. No tv. No shower. No fun. Upstairs, the computer expressed its dismay.

For a while I gave up, simply sitting and chewing my gum. Today’s technology has created an amazing group of youth like myself who can simply space out into nothingness, unseeing, unhearing, unloving, until our electrical entertainment clicks back on. Really, we are so dependant on these modern amusements that we are physically unable to function without them. Strange to think that our parents, only twenty or so years before us, were forced to play games outside, and use their imaginations, socializing with, of all things, other humans. Mine is an indoor age, an age where leaving the home is no longer necessary. Work from home, order delivery food, watch movies delivered straight to your cable television. Communication with friends happens online. We don’t even use “snail mail” – why should we when with the click of a button our friends can see exactly what we’re thinking? Put on headsets and talk to parents through the computer. Multiplayer video games to play long distance. Shop online. Take classes online. Set your own hours every day. Sleep as much as you want. Never see the sun.

“Beep.”

Smacking my gum I sit on my couch, staring straight ahead at my 36 inch, blank television. It looks so sad without the colorful pictures bouncing around on its screen. Underneath, three clocks are blank. The VCR clock? Blank. The DVD player clock? Blank. The cable box clock? You guessed it. Blank. Shocked, staring at the stack of equipment, I realize that there is no way in the house to tell what time it is. The red button on my Playstation 2, the best of the newest consuls, able to hook up online so I can play my fun filled games with people from all around the world, is off. Lonely and blank. Everything. My gum smacks. I don’t know what to do with myself.

Standing up, I walk as if in a trance to the kitchen. The refrigerator isn’t making its normal happy buzzing sound. I realize with a start that without electricity, there’s nothing for me to eat. Stove? Out of the question. Microwave? Pretty sure that’s a no, too. Toaster? Lost cause, trust me. Shifting my eyes to the ceiling, I try to think of something…of anything. But I can only draw an eerie blank. I don’t know what time it is. The countdown to when the lights and my life turn back on is interminable.

A thought! A Brainstorm!

“I wonder what’s on HBO tonight…”

Sadness. How could I even answer this simple question? Impossible without my online TV guide. My cat comes over and nudges my leg, looking up at me with a sly look as though nothing is wrong. Doesn’t she know that time has stopped? She gets by without electricity every day, she tells me with her haughty expression. What’s my problem, anyway?

A truck drives by and my windows rattle. Funny that I never noticed that before. I guess wearing headphones all day to listen to my mp3s sort of disconnects me from what’s going on in the real world. Wild. Rattling windows. Who knew?

Frustrated, bored, I begin to pace around my apartment in a circle. Through the hallway, into the bedroom, back through the hallway and upstairs to glare at my computer. Everything looks so dull without the lights on. Everything seems so boring without power.

“Beep!” It knows I’m watching. It’s screams for help only mean that it needs the electricity as much as I do. At least someone understands.

Back to the kitchen, more dull counters and floors. My eyes wander to the fifty dollar electric blender that I saw on a website and just had to have. What good does it do me now? Suddenly, as I look longer at it, the thing I want most in the whole universe is to use that blender, to blend something together inside it. Of course, without electricity, I can’t, and that just frustrates me even more.

“Beep,” I hear from upstairs. “Beep” is what it says, but what it means is “you never use that fucking blender. You probably never will. You just want to because you can’t.” “Beep.”

Fuck you, computer.

Maybe it’s right, though. Of course it’s right. How could the computer be wrong? No way, not possible.

Time flies when you’re having fun, but when the electricity stops, time stands still. Ask the VCR – it thinks time is standing still. The Playstation 2 knows it’s true. As the gum stills in my mouth, hiding under my tongue, I too know that time has stopped. If time would only skip ahead about an hour and a half, when my power would come back, when I could be happy again, when I could get on with my real life and stop standing barefoot on my cold kitchen linoleum staring at an unused blender, then maybe I could save a scrap of my sanity!

There isn’t really an end to this story. My electricity came back on, as it always does, but I really wasn’t any less bored that before.

My options are pitiful, and as the day goes by I waste it, a product of the new indoor generation, a generation used to solitude. A generation lost to electrical appliances of all kinds. Those of us who go outside might procreate and form a new generation, but I imagine that I will sign online one day and read an email telling me that my chance is gone.

Oh well. I’m lazy and unwilling to change the outcome.

Note to interested readers: There sort of is an end to this story. I wrote the above on paper and then transferred it to computer two weeks later. Why so long, you ask? As soon as the electricity came back on, I bolted upstairs to turn my computer back on. The minute I did, it exploded. It has taken me from the time I wrote the story to the time I transferred it to get everything working again, and now I think I’m gonna be okay. Thanks for your concern. –Chicklet

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