by Nic Olson
As a renewed cellphone-free man I drink the heavy nectar of wi-fi. I sense when it exists and where it exists and how to position my body and tilt my neck to best receive the finely-tuned wavelengths into my lungs and my soul and my device. I have given up on pride and ask even the least appropriate places for their security codes, their passwords to open the sesame of my personal communication. Restaurants, bars, party/costume shops, hotels, homes, parks, community centres, libraries.
“Excuse me, what is your wi-fi password?” is like admitting your poverty and asking for change. People look at you, notice that your device is seven generations old and scoff. I sit in the corner and send messages to mom in India. Last night at midnight I stood in the cold outside of the local cafe and sent messages to travelling friends. The addiction is real. But I distance myself as best as possible which is why I am now a parasite.
On my previous bout of unemployment I tagged it as the Freeloader trip, but I understood that this was an slightly more endearing term of what it really was: parasitism. Attaching to and sucking dry those connected to me that have vision and ambitions and talent and patience to see their goals through and somehow have room for a tapeworm in their process of progress. I “sold t-shirts” for Close Talker, coming up with a completely unnecessary job so that I could watch free music, travel, see friends, and drink too much. I will move to the farm to help a friend herd cattle and build a home on his century-old homestead, neither of which I know anything about. I will go to a new city to potentially participate in a friend’s grand project of opening a particular kind of pizza joint. I will latch on to progressive people of diligence and industriousness and hope that in my blood-sucking, what I admire in them will be transmitted to me.
Then, when these months are said and done I will travel to countries that want nothing to do with another white man but will put up with it for the sake of an economy that is the tourism industry. And I will feed off of their land and their labour and their inexpensive living for my own personal benefit. I will inevitably further damage relationships because even responsible tourism is harmful. And with any luck I will come home six months later with a gnarly stomach worm, a parasite of deadly origins, and I will learn what it is like to be the host of someone who isn’t capable of envisioning their own future.