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.
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.