At 8:22 this morning, Tommy woke me up. Accustomed to getting fed at 5:00, I applaud his restraint. His method is always the same, he reaches out a paw and tentatively taps the top of my head. In the winter, I sleep with the covers drawn over my ear and nose. Not much left to tap. The day, bright sunshine, incongruous with my mood, my headache. Dropping off to sleep went poorly, an afternoon espresso and an extra dose of anxiety. My mind circling, my breath shallow, my chest tight. I spent a half hour on social media before bed. I slept dream free but woke up to find my anxiety spent the night. A rough way to start the day, plus that headache.
By 10:00, still sitting at my computer, the news read, the headlines anyway, clouds closed in. The day was cooperating. No more cheery sunlight trying to brighten my mood. I found an empty room and looped through my routine, WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, over and over, email every fourth pass. Nothing ever changed. No messages, no likes, nothing interesting to read. Periodically, I took a break, and sat pissed at myself in an ever-darkening room. Time wasted, growing more caffeinated and agitated as the morning progressed.
Envisioning tomorrow, I’ll be working while my family enjoys Presidents’ Day, a silly holiday. I’m disrespectful, irreverent, disdainful of figures centuries dead, pointless to celebrate them, they’re people just like me. It’s a day off school, work, nonetheless. For them, not for me. I’ll sit at my desk, cellphone at my elbow, calling me to check my accounts.
I got my first iPhone just last year, required for my job working at a domestic violence nonprofit. A legal center, a shelter, we were on-call. But I was the finance manager, fiscal emergencies never happened in the middle of the night. I put off purchasing a Smartphone for more than a decade, I knew well the draw to social media I would feel.
I can’t spend another morning, anxious, obsessed, especially not at work. I clicked through my accounts, changing my password to a random string: numbers, letters and special characters like ^. Facebook and Twitter reminded me that I have other devices connected to the accounts. Did I need help updating those? No thanks, I said. This is the point. One device. Once in the morning, sipping my coffee, once again at night, winding down.
I lack control, self-control. I can’t stop obsessing over what isn’t happening online. But I can lock myself out. My keys I’ll leave at home.