Marooned!

So you can't survive without the Internet? Try living with nothing else.

6:00. I have struck up an e-mail correspondence with the webmaster behind food.from.net. "I don't want your blood on my hands," he writes. He offers to contact a local Chinese restaurant and call in the order for me.

6:55. I'm playing the interactive game Wag the Dog (shockrave.com): It's terrible— as amusing as a scratch-off lottery ticket. This is typical. The Net is full of entertainments but is not exactly entertaining.

7:43. More porn. I give over my credit card number to the monster "adult playground" ClubLove because they advertise one free week and because they've got the Pamela Anderson/Tommy Lee honeymoon video that I've heard so many good things about.

8:10. I don't know what Pamela and Tommy are so worried about— there is no sound and the video is spastic and interminable: here's Pamela opening the fruit basket. Pamela in the bathtub. Tommy naked on the boat. Somewhere along the line Tommy gets a blowjob, but it's hard to identify. Tommy appears to be making it with one of the pixelated clouds that figure so prominently on criminals on COPS.

8:30. The SeXXXvision strip show is now on— I can choose to watch "live" women in the "dungeon," "two-girl shower," or "health club." The brunette in the dungeon is the same girl in the health club. She strips immediately and says (in a chat window), "I wish you could feel this shirt coming off me." She begins jacking herself off with a dildo.

9:00. It takes a good 10 minutes just to find Member Services on ClubLove so that I can demand the cancellation of my membership, effective immediately.

9:41. The Pink Panther— not quite Richard Dean Anderson, but down there, certainly— is now chatting on Yahoo!:

Hornitos 98: is there going to be Pink Panther movie?

Ppanther: I'm currently working with Ivan Reitman on the script

10:15. I finish off the last drips of Scotch and embark to find more alcohol. Evidently, you can buy wine (virtualvineyards.com), but not beer and liquor. On a similar note, you can purchase marijuana seeds, but not the actual plant. Where is the underground when you need it?

Midnight. I settle into bed and prop the laptop up on my legs to read Walden.TXT.

I have trouble with the opening chapter, "Economy"— it's too dry and knotted. But in "What I Lived For," Thoreau manages to forecast the particular narcotic of the information age. He writes, "Hardly a man takes a half-hour's nap after dinner, but when he wakes he holds up his head and asks, 'What's the news?' "

Day 3

Food supply: three slices of bread, chunk of cheese, onions, jelly

7:30 a.m. I dream of an expedition through Roman ruins. My first thought: no outlets.

8:00. Music! Glory unto God! I've downloaded the Spinner plug-in— the 10th plug-in— to play my own personal radio station of classical, jazz, funk. The one that comes in decently is the classical one. I surf to Tchaikovsky.

8:15. Tchaikovsky is hitting Net congestion. It's coming in 10-second bursts, which defeats the point, really. I hear more silence than music. Potholes in perception.

8:45. Tchaikovsky has stopped and I can't get it to load.

9:15. Now I can't get Spinner to work without signing in again.

10:00. A tiny brown mouse scuttles across the floor.

11:23. Trap and Toss Disposable Guillotine Mouse Trap $10.00 SAFE. No snapped fingers. 24 traps to a box.

— at eBay, an online auction site

I take a box.

1:00. I'm running out of food, so I post a message in desperation in my club.

1:30. A friend posts in "Solitudinous" how to make bread pudding. I set about slicing the bread, lay it in a baking dish with the onions and cheddar. And wait.

1:50. I eat the bread pudding, which tastes... like bread plus onions plus cheese. A meal without hope.

2:05. My Netgrocer package arrives, miraculously.

I can now go on indefinitely.

Fuck.

3:00. I take a shower to reboot. First time my body has moved from the chair today. I open the contents of the box from Netgrocer and feel total elation: Pop Tarts!

3:45. The Starr report is posted online. CNN.com is down. MSNBC.com is also full. NYTimes.com bounces me, but I keep pounding until I get through.

5:00. The Starr report is perfect reading for online: compact, easily searchable for "kiss," "breasts," and "oral."

7:00. I'm trolling about, looking for a place to talk Lewinsky, and I feel abandoned. I drop into a Yahoo! chat, but it's full of ravings. The closest I can come to describing what I'm feeling is that I'm hungry for the media. I want to be confronted with opinions, interpretations to absorb or reject.

I rarely surf without company. How often I have remarked out loud to people, pointing to my screen, "Check this out." Alone, I can't put the Starr report into context. Not because there isn't an audience— in fact, there are 6 million of us looking at the same thing. But we have no "sedes," as Thoreau says— no "seat." How can I put this story into focus when I'm in constant motion myself?

7:47. I drop into IRC (Internet Relay Chat) for a quick statistical sampling. A search on "Starr" in the room name reveals 52 different matches. A search on "gay" returns 136.

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