How much can you do from the confines of the couch? Twenty years ago, the answer would have been, “Not very much.” Unless you knew how to knit, or had a lengthy telephone cord (remember the one fixed to the wall in the kitchen with the thirty feet of coiled cord?), there was little else to do from the couch but sit and ruminate. Considering how the Internet has changed everything in a very short amount of time, I find myself wishing I was recovering from foot surgery twenty years ago rather than in our progressive present.
My bandaged foot is propped in front of me, unwilling to accept any weight yet. There’s a tray next to me with various medicines and doctor’s orders – an empty yogurt cup lies next to me, waiting on my poor nurse to clear it. However, despite my pathetic immobility, my laptop is where its name implies it should be, and the Internet is working. Thus, the world is my oyster, even if I’m not currently in the mood for seafood.
Since collapsing onto the couch – that which I have appointed as my recovery spot – I have not been able to escape responsibilities. In the past twenty-four hours, I have sent e-mails requesting information on various rentable rooms for when Leigh and I welcome visitors in the coming weeks, I have sought to gather all the relevant information on our little Renault Clio in order to finally sell the darn thing, I have tended to our finances, I have read the day’s major headlines, I have researched my medication, I have scheduled a doctor’s appointment for later today, and I have continued the drudgery of a seemingly never-ending job search. All this from the semi-comfort of the couch, with nothing more than a computer and a telephone. I find this both remarkable and disconcerting.
Remarkable because despite being unable to walk, I have done more in the last twenty-four hours than some people do all week. Disconcerting because a certain thought has begun to nag at me: When did life become so involved and cluttered that simply lying back and waiting for my foot to heal would mean falling behind on a half-dozen different tasks? It makes me feel uneasy to realize that despite already doing so much, I am still behind in several things. There are still some grades to upload (thankfully, it’s Spring Break, so I’m not missing any classes while I recover from surgery), lesson plans to write, contacts to make regarding our impending move back to the States – oh, and that ever-elusive job to find, apply for, and hope to procure an interview. In the “olden days,” all that would have gone untended was my crops. Twenty years ago, some of these issues would still be pressing, but the absence of Internet would have found me dealing with them at a much slower, perhaps more manageable pace. The times aren’t simply “a-changing” anymore – rather, it seems transformation has come in quantum leaps and bounds.
As I wait for the swollen foot to shrink and the pain to lessen so I can actually take a few steps, I am certainly not hurting for things to do. And it’s a good thing, because it seems if I were to take myself out of this game for even a day, our world might cave in. I’m not so sure that this is a good thing, but, for now, it is reality.
Life in the present – maybe some dull pain in between medications, but never a dull moment.