Disconnecting to reconnect

David Busch



The flush of the toilet down the hall lifted the weight of sleep off my mind and my eyes slowly came to the present. My friend walked into the living room where I spent the night comfortably asleep on the futon.


“What’s going on?” my friend asks. In a sleepy tone, I respond, “What’s happening.” “What is happening,” my friend chuckles, most likely alluding to our philosophical debate we had the night before over the present state of the world.


I’m in Washington D.C., visiting a friend whom I traveled with in Israel and Egypt. The night before was filled with past stories and reminiscences.


“So, what are your plans today?” my friend inquires. I didn’t have any. I had decided on a whim to travel down to D.C. to visit him. I suppose I could visit the mall and see some of the sites, I tell my friend. We make lunch – veggie burgers. In a relaxed daze, I watch my friend slowly and gracefully cut the cabbage. The color of the cabbage is so deep, so natural and in the moment.


I reach into my pocket to grab my cell phone — maybe I missed a call or text from the night before — but as soon as I pull it out I realize that my phone is dead. I didn’t bring my charger, either.


Upon this news, my friend and I decide the best idea is for me to drive to the mall instead of him dropping me off at a bus station. There would be no way to contact him.


I plop into my car and reach for my glove compartment to grab my iPod. I hit the play button to turn it on. Dead silent ride. The ruts of my car dance with each pot hole. The sun warms the side of my face and my eyes dance from side to side as I approach the mall.


The Washington Monument rises in the distance and with each mile, it gets bigger and more prodigious. I find a parking space and get out of my car. No one can contact me through my cell phone. I have no computer to check my e-mail. And I have no TV to control my thoughts of the world. I am in the presence of my walk, of my wander. I visit the Botanical Gardens and feel the pure oxygen refresh my weak lungs. I walk up to the Native American Museum, standing outside. There is something wrong with this picture. We created a museum for a population, for a way of life that as a nation we disgraced. Irony? Hypocrisy?


National Archives — history breathing down every hall I walk. The Capitol Building. The White House. I have done these sites before and, in truth, I am not so intrigued. But something is different. I feel disconnected from the world but I feel I have reconnected. I have reconnected with the present moment.


I return to my friend’s apartment and the night is filled with political debates and life stories. My heart gets lost in the story of a young woman from Virginia. Her vivacious beauty attracts my attention, but it is her dreams, her passion to believe in peace that encompassed my whole moment.


The weekend came to an end and I reluctantly took the wheel for the ride home. No iPod. No radio. Just the road and me. My thoughts drifted. But it was easy to come back to the moment for I had no cell phone or e-mail to take this moment away from me.


In a world filled with Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter, it is easy to get distracted into what other people are doing. It is easy to lose what you are doing in each moment.


In a world filled with Rush Limbaugh, streamlined news and the dying comfort of newspapers, it is easy to lose oneself in the thoughts and opinions of others.


High-speed technology is part of the world. However, we need to be able to disconnect, to turn off the iPod, cell phone or laptop at least momentarily. We need to reconnect with one’s own thoughts, actions and being.


David Busch is a senior political science major with a minor in philosophy and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].