What Do You Expect, Mother? I’m Half Machine!

As I round out my 6th consecutive week of being offshore, a very sad reality bares itself in my mind. I go about today like all the other days on the rig: wake up, lay in bed for hours, turn on computer…..

I’ve been joking for weeks that Buzzfeed and Youtube are my only friends now. I guess I’m not really joking. It’s not just for work, I rely on this machine as my portal to the human world. I chat with whoever is lingering online, usually my mom. I wake up and go to bed many many nights having only exchanged a single email with a manger and chatted with my mom. This is the extent of my human contact. I fight back tears, thinking about my 7th grade speech project arguing people have an over dependence on technology. Alas, I am living my nightmare, falling asleep every night feeling only the warmth from a laptop.

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I go days without speaking full sentences. I go full days without making a sound sometimes. When is the last time I had a conversation with someone, out loud?…. The answer is poignant. Full disclosure: I only talk at work. I speak work related things with a very professional guard. I speak with people who don’t understand my language and vice versa. This goes on for months before I see other humans. It’s frustrating. I sit alone most of the day, thinking of all the past human interactions in my life. Any friend or foe in the last 25 years to grace my presence, I have thought about you. I replay old conversations. I remember the kids in my neighborhood who we used to tease mercilessly for their glasses and eccentric ramblings. I regret being such a cruel child. I wonder how they’ve adjusted. 

I haven’t given this much thought until today. This is how people become socially awkward. I have never been a master of social settings, but this must be destroying any personal skills I did have. I wonder if there are noticeable changes in my behavior when I am finally around the dwindling population of friends here in Doha, and certainly among friends back home. I must be a hyper puppy, allegorically jumping and pawing at them- possibly pissing my pants.

In a way, it is my fast from humans, a community cleanse, society detox. They say no man is an island. I disagree. 

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I Would Never Lie to You, No

I sink into the bubbles, cradled in hot water.  The lavender tea candle burns slowly atop the bath, the object on which I’ve fixed my stare. I’m everywhere and no where at the same time.

The sound emanating from my small speaker on the floor melds into my body and we become one with the water.The music playing is a blur. My blank concentration always fades right at the same time in the song- almost instinctively, I cry out loud with The Background,

“And I would never lie to you, no. I would never lie to you, no.”

I am awakened back to consciousness with a lump in my throat. My eyes water as if I’m choking. The blurriness comes into focus, and every word is a new object of my fixed concentration. It plays over and over. I feel the words for hours.Image

Some days, I watch TV instead. The warm and fuzzy bath double teams with the theme song. I sink into the bubbles, cradled in hot water. My mind is blank and I absorb the welcoming piano, leaning my head back and forth to the music,

“You want to be where everybody knows your name.”

The same lump in my throat appears. I close my eyes, battling the choking feeling. I transport myself into Cheers, where I walk in and sit at a table to the right of the bar. I sit there for hours, people watching in my bathtub.