Rusak means broken. Indonesians love to say things are broken, which is often the case in Indonesia. A song poorly played is ‘broken,’ as is a road with many potholes. Anything not acting as it should is said to be broken: a person, a country, an event. I get a lot of use out of the word. In fact, Indonesian has separate words for ‘broken but fixable’ and ‘broken beyond repair.’ Unfortunately my computer has recently fallen into that latter category. The power supply and some internal components have been fried by the erratic elictricity in Bali. As with most elderly electronics, the professional advice is ‘get a new one.’ But there is no way I am buying a brand new machine just to subject it to more spikes and surges, so I will be passing my final month in Bali without a computer. That means this blog will be pretty quiet, and whatever I post will not be the rich multi-media fare I have tried to serve up in the past, just whatever words come to me in the stuffy concrete cubicle at the internet cafe.
In January, when I decided to buy an internet modem and bring the world web into my home, I thought: “this is it, I will never live without interet again for the rest of my life.” At the time that seemed certain, when again would I choose to live unplugged from the flow? I am trying to see my fried laptop as a blessing in disguise, a second chance at life without internet. I would never choose thist life for myself, but now that I am here, it is almost a relief. I can already see the change in my daily routines. I was in the habit of reading the news while eating my breakfast, now I have returned to dining on the balcony. I read books more; I also watch more bad movies on TV. I check my email and facebook a few days a week and that seems to be plenty. The best part is that when I do make it online there is usually something to check. No more expectantly signing on only to find the same empty in-box and remember that I just looked at it a few hours ago.
This is not to say that I have really learned from the experience. In a month, when I leave Bali and rejoin the connected world, I will be right back to my old ways. Obsessive email-checking just never felt like a serious enough vice to warrant correction. With infinite opportunity and limited self-control it hardly seems worth the effort to resist. Which again makes me wonder, is this truly the last time in my life I will go days without going online? Well…I’ve thought that before and here I am, once more severed from the stream. Luckily, things have a way of breaking once in a while.