I always used to get high on texts and connections of all kinds. I was a real 4G junkie. And quite frankly, it’s easier to go without food or sex than to be disconnected. The thing is, while I was stuffing myself with all this, I had lost contact with my real life.
You know, I’m just your average Joe Bloggs. I dream a lot. But I don’t really do anything about my dreams. Stuck to my phone, I spent my time trying to make my existence bearable. The result was that I was always afraid of missing something. I lived in state that wasn’t my own. I’m not going to tell you that I want to go back to a primitive state, running around naked in the fields and smelling the flowers because it’s cool. No. I just want to stick to living without screens, without selfies, without letting the virtual world creep in through my fingers.
They say depression is today’s plague. That’s not true. The new virus is digital. And when you catch it, you become one with it. You become a digital junkie. Without realising it, you join a whole army of zombies. Like them, in the metro, the bus, in restaurants, the street, the loo, outside, at home, everywhere, as soon as an opportunity presents itself, you get your dope out and sink into that dark world. With your head down, your pupils dilated, and your fingers curled like claws over the keyboard.
Suddenly, you’re not thinking anymore, you’re surfing. You turn into Mr or Mrs Android, you are caught up in the data flow. When there is no network coverage, no Wi-Fi, the tension becomes palpable. Immediacy is your bread and butter, your fix, your techno-way-of-life. You process lines of information, you inject images, you roll apps, you swallow everything that’s going on while you wait for the slightest beep. You are in a constant state of delirium.
Then you suffer withdrawal from not being seen, not being liked; you fall into a hypnotic gulf. You have an account, a mailbox, a profile. “I post therefore I climax.” You are both static and everywhere at the same time. You are a little present here but mostly nowhere. You wander the world in your solitude, with downloading easy and your system nervous. With your smartphone in your hand, you hold it, fondle it, you lock it, you unlock it. It’s the only masturbation allowed in public.
Lennon sang on the White Double Album, “I need a fix 'cause I'm going down.” I felt the same but with a “mobile” version. With this extension of myself, I tell you, I felt good, I got a real buzz. It was my flint, my papyrus, my telegram, my flow. I was not Mr Average Joe Bloggs, I was Mr World.
In fact, I was plunged into an artificial coma, I lived schizophrenically on call waiting. One day, I got a shock and woke up to learn everything all over again.
Twenty-four hours, 10 hours and 39 minutes, already. On that day, everything changed dramatically. And you know what I did? I ate it. My SIM card… Yes, I swallowed it!
You could say it was symbolic of the whole thing.
What? The session is over already? Oh, well, thank you Doctor, will I see you again next week?
Translated by Wendy Cross