It has been 2.5 years since I’ve had internet or cable and, perhaps more interestingly, it has been 7 months since I’ve had a microwave.
Waaaahhh? An internetless blogger?
Calm your pants down. I find the internet in places outside my home all the time. It’s not like I’m boycotting these things. I’m just choosing not to live with them because it saves money.
Now think about that. I am a young person with a college degree who spends 40+ hours a week earning money, and I do not live with internet or a microwave because I don’t want to pay for it.
Now think about some more things: When was the last time you used your microwave? How about checked your Facebook from home? How often do you use these things? Every day? Several times a day? Imagine life without them. Could you?
Of course you can. If that crazy Paleo fad diet exists, which is designed to bring our eating habits back to those of our Stone Age ancestors, then we all know that we can survive without Facebook. But would you be happy?
This is where some might expect me to go into a meditative, reflective, yoga-esque talk about how peaceful and quiet my life is because Facebook isn’t in my apartment and Stouffers isn’t in my freezer. To live up to that expectation, I might talk about my monastic lifestyle and how I read lots of literature and only eat cold sandwiches while reflecting on how to establish inner peace.
Here’s a secret: that’s not how it is. I’m not a very good monk.
True, my apartment is peaceful. But the main reason for that peace is because I’m pretty rarely in it.
I have been known to take my laptop to Starbucks for hours, jacking myself up on over priced lattes and stalking you all on Facebook (yes, all of you) just to feed my voyeuristic internet fetish. I use the microwaves at work or at friends’ places. I don’t even remember how to read, it has been that long since I’ve picked up a book.
The resulting behavior that comes from getting rid of these things from my apartment is that I just go elsewhere to utilize them. It’s like deleting an ex from Facebook. I will forever stalk my ex’s, even if they aren’t my virtual friends, just like I will forever find pockets of internet in corners of the Earth outside of my apartment. I just don’t have the self discipline to not look at their profiles or to not drive to Starbucks to steal the WiFi. Nor do I have the desire to permanently get rid of these things (although it would be nice if some ex’s did just mysteriously disappear…).
If you take internet, cable, or microwaves away from most people, my uneducated guess is that they’d do the same. (…or maybe they’d be a better human than me and actually start reading or knitting or something. Their blogs are probably more insightful than mine. To heck with them, those reading bastards.)
Being without Hot Pockets or ESPN or Twitter is whatever. I don’t care one way or another to have these things. I don’t veg out on a couch in front of my TV when I get home from work, but that’s not to say that I don’t find other ways to veg out. I’ve lately found myself taking more naps, actually. When I am at my apartment, these things just aren’t there. It’s kinda nice, but I mostly just feel indifferent about it.
I can claim that my apartment is more of a haven to me because it’s calmer. I like knowing that I don’t have these things. I like not paying for them. It doesn’t matter that I use them elsewhere; they aren’t in my habitat, and that’s what matters. The trade off for not having them is getting to pay for other things, like my student loans.
Maybe it was because I was conditioned in post-modernist America to love instant gratification and all things that make my life more convenient, or maybe it’s because I am terrible at self control, but I’ve learned that life without a microwave or internet isn’t really life without a microwave or internet at all. Perhaps that’s why I haven’t shriveled up and died from depression and loneliness yet.
I want to challenge my fellow young people to consider going to similarly extreme measures in an effort to save money. You might find that they aren’t so extreme.
Internet and cable aren’t necessities. Neither are smart phones, meat, fast food, or marijuana. Lattes, however, are a necessity. I sympathize with anyone who will not give up that $5 guilty pleasure.
I am not committed to this lifestyle. When I make the switch over to the modern lifestyle, I think I’ll appreciate these things more, and I think I’ll probably use them less than I did prior to when I began living life without them. Not because life is more peaceful without them being so easily accessible, but because I’ve just gotten used to going without. It’ll be nice when the day comes that I don’t have to drive a mile to a friend’s microwave to reheat last night’s pasta.
Just to be clear, because I know there’s gonna be one or two of you who will get all snotty at me if I don’t spell this out: I don’t look down on folks who do have these things. If I had a bit more money I would have them, too. That being said, I can’t help but feel a little proud that I know what life is like without them. In this way, I’m living life with intention. I am forced to think more about some of my daily activities. Figuring out how to blog when you don’t have internet is always a fun challenge.
Here’s another secret: I probably could afford to drop a few bucks to upgrade my life to the internet-cable-microwave lifestyle. I just don’t. I’d rather make larger payments on my student loans.
Please don’t send a cable package to my doorstep because “how-sad-is-it-that-she-can’t-watch-TV-every-day.” I don’t want these things right now. I am not complaining about my life. In fact, I rather like my life right now. I’m happy, and I don’t care about being without a microwave. There are worse things in life.
I am literally about to leave my apartment right now so I can go find some WiFi and publish this.
Don’t mail me a microwave. I’ll return it and use the money to pay for lattes.