Day One: A modern (and slightly exaggerated) reimagining of Walden

Nineteen days without Internet in my room.

This is my burden: taking the elevator down from the 13th floor each evening until June 1st to the lobby to use the Internet.

Because there is no Wi-Fi in my room, and no place to plug in an Ethernet cable, so I cannot stay in my room all day watching netflix and porn. I am a 21st century Henry David Thoreau, and this is my Walden. This is my chronicle of all nineteen days, as I am shackled to this one power outlet hidden (no others in sight) behind the long wooden table in the lobby of the 63rd street Y.

The first day/night is always the hardest. It is the closest I’ve ever come to realizing my pathetic existence on planet Earth. So yes, this string of nineteen days will be riddled with worn out clichés and melodramatic soliloquies. But I will document each one, if only to distract me from the constant panic that haunts my Internetless existence.

It will build character, they (parents/friends/YMCA personnel/the homeless I rant to on my walk through the Bryant Park subway station) say. It is a feat of willpower, they say. It’s a test. Can I make it through? That first night I would have assured you no, I cannot. But now, twenty-four hours later, I welcome the challenge. I’m angry. I have gone from hopeless self-pity to a misplaced hatred of everything that isn’t the Internet I miss so dearly. I have something to prove. I have had an Internet connection in every room I’ve lived in for the past seven years. That ended yesterday, May 13, 2012. These next nineteen days will test the will of mankind. This struggle is the embodiment of every struggle that will come in this century. I am the sacrifice. I have been called to this. It is, I believe, my destiny.

I sit in this lobby, talking loudly to myself so no one dares disturb my time with the Internet, and I pray silently to google/facebook/email/skype. In the back of my mind is an endless train of thought frantically searching for a way to get an Internet connection in my room. But it is futile.

I came to Manhattan fresh off the train from the Internet haven that was my home in Greece, NY. Even the fucking eight-hour train ride had Wi-Fi. Learning that my room here does not can only be described as the mental equivalent of a star collapsing on itself.

As I write this, I am counting down the 410.5 hours left until I can move into another building, one that has Wi-Fi in the rooms. At least it better had. If not, I assure you blood will be spilt.

Shortly, I will venture back up to the 13th floor, that wasteland, and channel Mr. Thoreau. This is a test of self-sufficiency. How can I possibly be expected to entertain myself without Internet? How will I masturbate? What contact will I have with the outside world? I’m in a city with millions of people, yet I’ve never been more alone. Henry David lasted two years at Walden Pond. I have nineteen days on 63rd street.

I only ask for your sympathy.

-Ben Cosman