Never Alone

Bismillah (in the name of Allah…)

In the last post I said I’d fix up the post in which I struggled to be genuine, but my heart is still not in it so I’m going to keep it a draft until I am inspired to finish it. Instead, I will write about something which has kick-started my 2 AM train of thought:

Could it be? That’s right, folks, this yellow man has not yet gone down to the city of Atlantis and I’ve decided to honor his memory here. I expect many of you are reminiscing about the good ol’ days of AIM (some 5-10 years ago,) but I need you to snap out of it because I’m not here just to talk about AIM or G-chat, but rather what they stand for. Quick fun fact though – earlier this year AOL flirted with shutting AIM down, but instead decided on just firing some people.

Anyway, how did this come up? The other night I was alone at my apartment in DC, which is currently without internet and with very shoddy 4G coverage. I was wide awake, just hitting my 2 AM second wind when I started feeling like Macauley Culkin in Home Alone when he wakes up really sad the second day because his family still isn’t home. As I struggled to get my now 3G operating phone onto google talk to make sure other insomniacs were still stirring, I thought about how with the internet/a smartphone/Facebook updates, you’re never really alone.

Yeah, globalization is making everything and everyone more connected, but it isn’t until now that I’ve thought about how I unconsciously use social networking to stave off loneliness. Even if I’m not talking to anyone, just having the green symbol that lets me know other people are awake is comforting enough. I’ve never been on Facebook when no one else has been on (the fewest I’ve seen is maybe 4,) but I think being the only person online would be rock bottom. I guess Myspace users know what that’s like (zing!) It really makes me wonder what people used to do back in the old days. Alhamdulillah (all thanks and praise are due to God) I have always lived with people and I don’t know what it’s like solo for an extended period, but I imagine I’d be even more tightly glued to any form of social media.

Looking back now, I have always had some form of chat window that served as my connection to other sentient life still stirring after the sun went down. In middle/high school it was AIM (much like a first relationship – I learned the game from it and though I’ve moved on, it will still always have a special place in my heart) and before that I slept early and didn’t prefer digital conversations to hanging with my family. For the spiritual crowd, we can also say that we are never really alone as some of the names/attributes of God in Islam are: Al-Wasi’ (The Vast, Omnipresent,) As-Sami’ (The All-Hearing,) Al-Baseer (The All-Seeing,) you get the point… But even still, sometimes you need the human element and now I know that thanks to Al Gore (sike, there’s no way he “invented” the internet) a bunch of pixels and a keyboard suffices.

Happy [digital] Reflecting,

Naj