#67: The Deadzone

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Living without a phone is to me a form of evil, personal torture. I wouldn’t subject myself to a narrative that claims I am a huge fan of my phone. I just need it.

Here, as I write this blog on my phone, I am occupied in time by this so-reviled and despised device. It’s difficult to detach the outputting machine from the habit it’s helping me build, of 300 words a day every day for 2019 on this blog site. I wouldn’t be able to achieve it without this.

Where the sun doesn’t shine, where the moon is invisible, and where the stars brighten the sky, that’s the deadzone. A place untouched by technology, wireless internet connections, phones, gaming systems, smart watches. The deadzone is when the lightbulbs burst at once, leaving the room dark and imperceptible.

I’ve been to the deadzone a few times before, most recently while in Michigan to see Alex’s hometown and family. She had to set up a Wi-Fi hotspot at night, when we returned to her house, so that I could complete my daily phone tasks and stay somewhat sane. Without having my phone available to me, I feel like I have less potential as a person. With my phone, I can scour the internet, play games, talk with friends around the world, check my email and messages, and more. It sounds cliche to say, but these are small things that we take for granted. When I entered the deadzone in Michigan, I realized how powerless I felt without access to my phone; I couldn’t collect my daily orbs or leaf tickets on Fire Emblem or Animal Crossing, respectively, and I couldn’t talk to any of my friends who live outside of an immediate range around me. These are powers, in a way, that we take for granted until they are taken away, even for a bit of time.

The deadzone reminds us of what matters to us, and whether those things take precedence over other matters. When you are without your phone, does it bother you so much that it impedes on your enjoyment of simple things? Is it hard to enjoy laying down with nothing on the mind when there’s a world out there you are missing, a world you frequently enter but now are unable to pass into?

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#48: Michigan

Michigan, a new frontier. Not moving there, but we are exploring for a few days while we can. By this point, I will already be in Michigan for the first time, my first romp through the midwest. An inaugural trip lasting four days long. Michigan state, Alex’s home, is elusive to me, as the majority of my knowledge about it consists of Frankenmuth, Detroit, Flint’s water crisis, the great lakes, and the most recent midterm election. Go Whitmer! Make people feel proud again!

Michigan reminds me most of its neighboring states in the midwest, but I feel strong Connecticut vibes from Alex’s descriptions. The strip malls here are a bit different, but the state turns into a wintery hell during the right season, and I know what that feels like. Snow so high your eyes need to adjust, towering far above you. But on top of that, Michigan has a rugged, rustic, against-the-weather reputation to it that must resonate with central and western Connecticut’s general attitudes. It’s difficult to describe, but rest assured that both sides enjoy their fair share of rustic expats from the south. Connecticut is a bit too small for the size of its ego, though, and Michigan is more appropriately sized. In the former state, Dunkin Donuts abound every five miles or so at least, often with a smaller range than that. In the latter state, you can drive for miles through blizzarding conditions just to get to the nearest grocery store. There are definitely some unique comparisons to be made between these burgeoning states.

Michigan is where some people belong, a home away from home that invites, excites, and brightens the way for visitors, too. I am looking forward to my trip there, and I hope for the best. I’ll review the trip with some level of detail in a future blog post, depending on when I feel like writing about it. Usually the topics I choose are that simple!