The phones, the phones, the phones.

Always an intrusion.

Ugh. The insisting klaxons.

I lived before there was voicemail.

Thass right mother fuckers.

An ancient time when it was possible to truly miss a call.

At 45 I continue to fumble the ritual greetings.

Phone Voice.

Phony Voice.

I’d just rather fucking not, ok?

The first cell phones convenient in my earlier vagabond erratic lifestyle.

Still. Felt like a yoke. An uneasy buzzing sensation when it was near me.

The new ones even worse.

My phone is packed away like a failed fruitcake.

Wrapped in tinfoil, turned off, and inside a drawer.

Check it once a week or so.

Insist people use email.

I am a suspicious character to go without a phone chirping from my pocket.

Aghast is the right word for the reaction to my kind-of lie, ‘I don’t have a phone’.

Pathological non-conformity or my high sensitivity to EMF? The reasons don’t matter.

The avoidance of this intrusive pest only seen as mental illness.

My kid’s got a phone now.

Dad makes sure her new friend has all the bells and whistles.

Now she is like everyone else.

It is her pet, her battery.

Her utmost companion in bed, the bathroom, school & the pool.

When she’s Robloxing or StarWarsing on my desktop her sleek baby bings & coos in her hand.

She admits she is hypnotized.

I ask her how she feels about it?

Does she want to get away?

I suggest she attend a martial arts retreat in the mountains.

She suggests I invest in some more battle video games instead.

I’m just a fossil terrified of her brave new world.

I’d like to chalk it up to simply not getting Kids Today.

Don’t wanna be an Old who judges her children.

I’m under the exact same spell.

Though I avoid the phone, I am as deeply entrenched as anyone.

My desktop is always running.

It plays crickets, peepers, bells, waterfalls, a variation of these things –

24 hours most days.

A huge screen dominates my space.

It invades my creative mind.

It keeps me docile.

I don’t keep up the frenetic pace that formally defined my life.

Is it just injury & illness creeping up harder than before?

Where is my drive, my mojo?

Am I getting weaker or am I being weakened?

The urge to check social pages eerily automated.

Interrupts my writing about every hour.

Even if I’m at my worktable, away from the screen, engrossed in painting, it’ll call me in on the hour.

A timing and regularity completely adverse to my natural state.

Compulsiveness observed with slight horror but unable to change it.

This is a form of addiction.

I’d like to say it’s because I’ve made such lovely friends online over the years.

Specialty groups of people with similar lives, tastes, histories, afflictions.

Mutually supportive networks like nothing I’ve ever had in my life.

Connection where before the great interweb there was nil.

It’s the new HAM radio, yo.

I love the little chats with people.

Pics and vids of moments in their lives.

I trade my art for items from around the world.

In healing I’ve learned to choose people wisely.

The internet is great practice when Isolation is self-care.

Boundaries practiced and defined with one’s choice of social interactions.

Having conversations in which all that matters is my mind.

Not my body or face or who I know, where I am.

Flitting-about & chit-chat tailored for the introvert.

Joining our narcissistic tribe in full swing around the globe as a voyeur.

The access to information on anything we want at our fingertips.

I recall being very young and wishing we communicated with thought balloons.

So each word could be scanned. Translated.

Is the world not becoming what I wished for?

But is it what we want?

What is this dark lure under the festivities of a free exchange of ideas?

It is like a monkey’s paw.