The instructions were simple and straightforward enough, observe yourself and how you communicate with those around you and for one hour disconnect myself from all electronic communications. For many I presumed that any disconnect from the world around them would be torture, for me it’s almost standard.
I decided to have my “iExamen” on a Saturday: no classes; no stress of work due later that day; no alarm clock jolting me from slumber; so essentially I didn’t feel like adding anything else to the stressors during the average week. So I was awoken the sound of my stomach growling, obviously unhappy that it hadn’t been fed since midnight breakfast, and my roommates snoring turning to laughter at the noises he heard. Since it wasn’t yet noon as part of the roommates’ social contract any unnecessary noise or distractions from food are highly discouraged so we depend on body language through pointing to ask to pass the pancakes and grunts of acknowledgement. Actual conversations emerged around 2 in the afternoon one of my roommates, Sean, decided to wake up and get off the couch. Then came the group text to see who wanted to meet up and have lunch, or breakfast depending on who you were asking. After work sessions of about an two hours of cramming as much work in as humanly possible the weekend invasion pursued as whoever is bored or just doesn’t want to sit around their room waltzes on in. Rather quickly this devolved into everyone sitting around the living room on the couches, chairs, floor, or any place that they could fit, including other people. It’s become a tradition to watch YouTube or a Netflix movie. The decision making process: throwing names of movies around & listen to the high pitched shrieks of excitement or the grunts of disproval.
It’s a curious thing, watching the situation unfold and how people react, not to what was said, but to how someone looked and the body language. The group’s gotten to know each other well enough over the past few months to understand each other and observe the mannerisms of one another. If this person starts squirming it’s just because they need to move, but if this other person starts it holds much more weight. Just because someone doesn’t want to say aloud that they’re scared out of their wits from the horror movie that “majority ruled” to be ok. Not surprisingly not even an hour into the movie three of us were quite literally quaking in our boots. To alleviate the tension of the room it was decided again through “majority rule” that we would play a horror game Sean downloaded from the internet. This week’s special horror “my little pony” which you descended into hell almost immediately and then when you closed out of the game made picture files of the game onto your desktop. Naturally communication was done verbally, through body language; both in the standard sense, and flailing limbs and running out of the room.
Disconnecting from electronic communication was actually inadvertanly done as the only time I used my phone was to gather us all together. That was about a period of maybe twenty minutes out of the entire day. The rest of the communications were done face to face; though most of the passing of information was not verbal. Indeed most information was done with gestures and body language, some more subtle than others. From a sly look, to outright tackling one another communicating never seems so interesting, or forceful until a lack of sleep and high amounts of caffeine are consumed.