Things I Don’t Get Notifications For

Putting the phone down and getting some alerts from life

When my son is reading on his own, the puppy by his side; there’s no notification for that. When the king coconut is ripe on the tree, there’s no alert. When the rain falls on the water, when the light is just right; there’s no stats. But it happens. It won’t tell you that it’s happening, but it does.

There’s good books I haven’t read, but they won’t show up in my inbox. There’s people I should call, but they won’t ring themselves. Sometimes golden hour makes everything more beautiful, but how would we know, we’re constantly bathing in blue light.

Sometimes you get to the next payday with all your bills paid and money in the bank, some to give away. I don’t have any statistics on that, but it’s a nice feeling. Sometimes you see someone you know and you both smile and you don’t say anything but you’re happy to see each other. Nobody makes money on that so it’s not recorded, but it happens, sometimes.

Sometimes the old dog is still dead but it doesn’t hurt so much anymore. Sometimes it hurts so much that you’re happy to cry. Sometimes there’s nothing on your mind. Sometimes everything is fine. There’s no notification for no notifications at all.

These are all moments I’d usually obliterate. I’d usually pull out my phone, but today I’m trying (it’s charging). I’m trying to be serene.

It used to be every moment was a moment, but as a householder the only time I truly have is when everyone else is asleep. Right now it’s the puppy, breathing in and out, oblivious to the music and the light. It could be a child, lips pursed, eyes closed, just tiny features at peace. You spend all day outwitting these creatures (getting outwitted) but when they pass out you can just look at them and they’re beautiful.

They’ll wake up and we’ll be chasing mouths and anuses around but for now they’re angelic at rest. There’s no notification for that of course, it’s not gamified. The simple act of just getting every little creature down for the night. I feel like you should unlock an achievement for that.

Sometimes there’s a great song you haven’t heard in a while, but it wouldn’t interrupt. I wish it would. Sometimes there’s someone that needs help but they won’t ask. I wish they would.

There’s so many notifications I get that don’t matter. It feels like the things we count don’t count, while our treasure goes unmeasured. My 96 year old grandmother is never going to send me email, why am I checking it so much. The birds don’t tweet, why don’t I just go outside.

Because it sucks I guess. Because it’s boring and ugly and we’ve chased most of the birds away. Because why have a subtle emotional cocktail when you could just have dopamine any time you want.

Because the little pleasures don’t knock on your brain-door, they aren’t convenient, they aren’t insistent; when you have a moment, the moments aren’t there.

So yeah, the phone will charge, and I’ll self medicate again. I’ll check the stats on this article, I’ll ask for a number on whether I’m OK, and then I’ll check again. I’ll fill my head with voices so I don’t have to wait for my own to haltingly, perhaps never, think of something to say.

But sometimes, every leaf on a Bo tree will shimmer in the wind. You can almost hear it. Sometimes your kids will tell you they love you, out of nowhere. Sometimes you’ll see an animal and feel understood in a way you can’t explain. None of these things will give you any notification, but they’re there. I hope I’m there too.

Written by

A writer living in Colombo, Sri Lanka. He/him. indi@indi.ca. Videos: tiny.cc/indication and podcast: anchor.fm/indication. patreon.com/indication

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