‘What day is it today? Where am I?’
By Isabelle Orr, Entertainment Editor
Finally, I was free. I lay on my bed, trying to fall asleep. But there was nothing to look at! Nothing to scroll, like, or retweet. I was stuck with my own terrifying thoughts.
When my alarm woke me up, I was up and out of bed in record time. Why wouldn’t I be? There was nothing for me to waste time doing. I felt like a superior being, like Jessica Lange. I was invincible!
Six hours later during my lunch break at work, I begged my coworkers to use their phones for just a minute to see what was happening on Twitter.
“Hasn’t it been, like, 10 hours?” my coworker asked.
Maybe 10 hours, maybe 10 million hours—what did it matter? I was lost, alone, adrift without my apps! I was forced to read a copy of The Bell Jar that a customer had left behind, which did nothing to improve my mood.
As the days passed more slowly than a SkyTrain escalator, I took solace in the fact that it sounded cool to tell people about my self-inflicted internet time out.
“Oh, really?” they would say. “I could never do that!”
“It just takes a bit of self-control,” I’d say modestly, radiating serenity akin to that of Princess Diana. “Anybody could do it.”
The days passed by. I sketched out a Twitter feed on a napkin and pretended to scroll it. I tried to zoom in on real-life objects. I was jonesing for a fix.
Finally, a day I had been thinking about for weeks rolled around: my ex’s birthday. Obviously, I simply had to say something. Staying silent would be taken as a slight (at least, I would take it that way), so really, I was doing the right thing—no, the adult thing—in reaching out. I wallowed in the self-satisfaction one gets when one realizes that they’ve learned a very, very important lesson, like how to buy a bra that fits.
I sent out a blasé message that conveyed that I cared, but not in, like, a creepy way.
I received a response three hours later: thanks pal!
I immediately texted my four closest friends. Pal? My fingers flew across the keyboard. Pal? I needed gratification! I needed validation! I needed a donut and I needed Instagram likes, and I needed them five minutes ago. One friend typed:
Lol but you’re not dating anymore tho
The text slammed me to my core. I realized all the “growth” I had done during my social media cleanse had been for the wrong reasons. I had been hoping that one particular person would notice my absence. Doing things in hopes that someone will recognize you is self-serving and ultimately toxic. You—and I—should want to improve yourself for nothing more than being a positive influence for both yourself and those around you.
Instead of moping, I spent my time doing the following:
Though I owe the library a stunning $80, I was able to borrow books from friends to fill work breaks. These books included No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July, Literally Show Me a Healthy Person by Darcie Wilder, and A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan.
Going to the gym
I am a strong advocate of community centre gyms for both their low prices and the fact that they almost always have a steam room that is inexplicably empty. I recommend skipping the workout altogether and just using the steam room until you sweat out 10 pounds.
If all else fails, pack all of your things into liquor store boxes and move several streets down into a new place. Even though you have no bed frame and are reduced to living out of boxes for several days (where are all of my bras?), moving is a clean, blank slate for you to have new hopes, dreams, and experiences. Also, make sure to wrap your dishes in newspaper before you move them. Heed my advice!
I decided to redownload social media when I was informed that it was daylight saving time, something that had gone completely unnoticed by me.
“How did you not know?” my coworker asked.
In truth, without dozens of memes to remind me, I had slept through the night as solidly as a log. That night, I redownloaded.
thank god you’re back! a friend messaged me.
missed u buddy <3 sent another.
My social media cleanse had helped me and had ultimately served its purpose. I knew that if I had to take a break (and at the time, I really did), I would. But I didn’t redownload Facebook, since it’s all meat-based recipes and weird memes for aunts. Facebook is so passé.