It was one of those moments when the tether stretched hard enough to strain. Like the lowest point of a bungee jump, waiting to bounce to safety or snap and drop. I left it in my jacket. My jacket went in a closet. And as soon as my host and I began talking, I felt the absence of glass against my leg and could think of nothing else. Was it buzzing unattended? Were notifications piling up, spreading like a disease across its face?
No one was expecting to connect with me. I had nowhere to be but there. So I resolved to leave it in the closet. I could survive three hours.
And I did. And because of a combination of panic and lightness, I left it in my pocket, ignored, as I made my way home. I rode the streetcar, my eyes above my hand, to see how deep the jump could go.
I used to feel to the city this way. I watched others, listened to music, read weeklies, let my mind imagine and play. I would write. But downtime somehow became uptime, and the instinct to reach for the tether now hovers at the edges of my consciousness all day.
I didn't have any epiphany. No great poem came. No story, no new insight into the soul of Toronto. But there was a slowing down. An easing of the mind. The same way that writing is an easing of the mind. A release from the need to tweak, fiddle, and fumble.
I did eventually reach into my pocket and felt the glass against my hand. It warmed at my touch. The world went slack and I soared up, up to the satellites.