Cellphone Swandive – Confessions Of A Closet Luddite

On a sunny day last August, I was perched on the bluffs in West Van, off of Marine Drive, just soaking in the scenery with shopvac eyeballs, basking in sunshine and salt spray, when I had this incredible urge, overpowering even, to whip my cellphone off the cliff as hard as I could, and if it had been in my hand at that moment, I very well might have.

Picture it: a gracious swan dive, cellphone floating for a majestic moment at the apex of its flight, before succumbing to the gravity of its extinction.

I came this close to severing my technological umbilical cord. The horror of this was enough to send a shiver down my spine at the thought. I almost sacrificed my realtime social networking milk supply, my lifeline to the giant telecommunicative teat in the sky. Oh, the humanity.

There, my phone would sit, pathetic and useless.

I imagine I would hang my head in my hands, and the data would leach out like last words, like gasps of breath in our last seconds, a pool of static gathering like a halo around the headphone jack.

The processing power would become pollution, and the gigabytes would float up to the surface and bob like so many energetic water striders or shipwreck survivors, increasing the memory span inadvertently of fish that snapped them up.

The wireless ghosts of countless conversations would bubble upward, exhales and whispers wafting, drifting, shifting in the sea.

There my phone would sit, trapped in purgatory, released to a watery grave among the waves.
There, it would find final resting place.

The liquid crystal would disseminate from the display like octopus tentacles and the neuron charges of all the brain cells that have died in the fight to serve my voracious cellular appetite.

All my voicemails messages would would morse code across the surface tension; all the clearing of throats, and good intentions, and vibrations would weave their way into the exoskeletons of germinating insects amongst the reeds and barnacles.

Maybe, if I was especially desperate, I would scour the sand the next morning for any remaining sign of my cellphone activity: the late night rhymes, the carpool requests and long distance happy birthday wishes. Maybe even the sideways winky faces (that are supposed to be flirtatious…?), nestled like driftwood in the corner of the beach.

All my text messages would slip out of the plastic casing and be repurposed to paper the walls of so many hermit crab houses. An “OMG ur gorgeous” in the front hall, and a “Wish U Were Here” over the mantelpiece.
Undoubtedly, my snapshots and instagrams would be lost amongst the mollusks and clams, and find their way onto living room walls of lobster gentleman, appreciated for their artistic merit and sophistication.

Maybe this crazy urge was just my way of getting payback against the modern world, the grind machine, the devilry of our modern society.
The ignorance of cities draped in power cables and condescension, in concrete and steel and towers and gridlocks…

This is my stab in the dark at disagreement, a fantasy of poetic justice, dreaming up a way to combat how we are bathing mother nature in a constant bombardment of celltowers and traffic signals.

Maybe, if I had allowed myself to be seduced by this compulsion, I would have found myself in a much different place than I am in now. Maybe, I would have started humming two frequencies higher, face shining, emerging like a newborn soul from a dark womb of modern magic.

And maybe if the rest of humanity followed my example, we would be… legendary, and quite possibly the cause of some future treasure explorer experiencing a near-fatal heart attack. I imagine the most enthusiastic archeologist, overjoyed, positive that he’s discovered the sunken city of atlantis, only to find our symbolic contract, and chances are he’d be disappointed, left only with the remnants of a disjointed generation, a soggy mountainous heap of handheld devices.

Atop it all, my derelict engine of communication would be mistaken for the ruins of a lost civilization.

So now you know. Walking through the woods in West Vancouver. Perched on the bluffs at the intersection of pathways with names like Seven Sisters and Elderflower and Lighthouse Beacon Trail, I almost did myself a favour. With freedom taking to the wing, I almost made a difference. But the wind threw my caution back into my face, and now? Digitalis.

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