The Great WhatsApp Exodus of '13

Ah, the restless march of technology. I wanted to start off this post with a quote about how invasive "personal" technology is, like any good curmudgeon, but it's the end of the day and I'm much too lazy to Google one right now: to be delivered on Twitter tomorrow. Maybe.

Original image: imgur

Are you having a good week? I certainly am. With these cold Nairobi months just now kicking in, I'm discovering my Whitewalker heritage and enjoying my light cardigans in the face of the heavy trench coats favoured by my fellow Kenyans. Yes, darlings, I am....immune to cold. Okay, not really, y'all need to stop judging bloggers on the street wearing 4-6 layers of clothing. Surface area to volume ratio, people!

On to my agenda for the day: I'm a person who generally spends a lot of time in my own head and let me tell you, that is a scary place. The lizard overlords make us eat spinach! When I'm not actively ignoring my fellow man with my patented Unintentional BitchFace, or subtly reminding people that I'm better than them because I read complex books in public places, I'm immersed in the internet via phone
Anyone that has met me will probably not be able to tell you what the rectangular area smack in the middle of my face looks like. Like, seriously, I would dare them to describe my nose.

This is me. ...the pic is from like, last year.

As a result, I pay less than zero attention to my surroundings. I mean, sure, I've always got a fairly accurate picture of everyone and everything around me because I killed a spider once and I know his family wants revenge, so I notice "threats" faster than most people but unconsciously block out everything else. 
I didn't even know there were birds in my neighbourhood 'til I heard them this weekend. Having just read the Alchemist and experiencing a moment of unusual peace and clarity in what may have been a hallucination caused by overeating at Swahili Plate, it dawned on me: distractions. Specifically, of the mobile device variety.

It should pain me to say this at the ripe old age of below 30 but we need to unplug. Well, I do. You don't realise how much chaos you actually carry around in your head until you put that infernal device away (yes, that mans you too, reading this from your Galaxy Tab) and put your feet up for the day. Not even watching TV, mind you, the news these days...oy vey.

As I reclined in my onesie grown people PJ's recently, feverishly responding to texts and starting group chats about how Maziwa ya Nyayo needs to resume, but include adults & replace milk with pizza (and make free home deliveries), my Distractions Theory became even more specialized: I am an obsessive WhatsApp user.

It sounds like the most first world of problems, but I assure you it is a serious condition. I cannot count the number of times I've sat down to watch a series then ended up texting the first funny line, setting off a chain reaction of quote-swapping that culminates in a dazed me three hours later unable to tell you a single thing that happened on the show.

 Except this one. I can tell you about this one. popcultureplaypen

The minute something interferes with my ability to enjoy music (I cannot emphasize enough the benefits of LOUDLY singing along with Mohombi in a locked room. Dancing optional, but encouraged), it is officially a situation that needs urgent intervention.

As I write this, my phone is charging in another room. Yes, my entire plan for this is to put the phone at a slightly inconvenient length away then count on my laziness to deter me from getting up to retrieve the thing. Viva sloth power!

Now, I concede that some functions of the phone cannot be completely ignored, for instance, responding to texts from my Mum within exactly 7 minutes. While the Officers were very sweet about the "kidnapping" alert last time, I'm pretty sure I'll be put on a watch-list if it happens again. I can't be on a watch-list; they check those before they let you adopt cats.


My point here is, aside from only the most urgent of communications from those that share the blood of my ancestors (not the Whitewalker side), I am off the grid. To this end, I've set myself a personal challenge: to fast from my greatest mobile vice, WhatsApp. This idea came to me in the dead of the around 10:00pm while I watched Drawn Together in pajamas. Not everyone has friends, ok??
I could have easily said "stop phone surfing" but I know I've drastically cut down on that already and that would be cheating. Also, you probably shouldn't make bets with me.

I had previously uninstalled my WhatsApp in a bid to commit, but c'mon, watching well-intentioned group chats devolve into "I made that joke first" fights is kinda what Wednesdays are all about. Also, removing yourself from temptation in this case means you haven't conquered it, you just ran.
Hence, I have issued myself a challenge:

From today, until...Friday, I shall not WhatsApp unless it is an actual emergency. ....ok, I can look at messages, I just can't respond to them. Baby steps, right? Fine, compromise: since I will obviously be notified of WhatsApp messages when I switch on my wifi or data usage for innocent reasons, I am allowed to glance at the notification, but NOT the messages themselves. That way, I'll know I have 13 messages form 5 different conversations but not know which ones.  ....I just got withdrawal symptoms typing that.

Sure, it is super urgent that I forward that one gif of a lion cub hugging a panda (it happened!), but you know what else is important? The promise I made myself to write for my archives everyday, even if it was just a paragraph completely unrelated to what was previously written. Yes, I very urgently need to fan that flame war on the Twitter timeline, BUT I also didn't realise how badly I need to bond with my trusty old laptop and listen to Mariah Carey inform her lover that she Still Believed they would someday find themselves in love again.

I'm a writer so I shall sit and open a blank Open Office Word Processor (subtle Ubuntu propaganda is subtle) document, and simply allow my thoughts to run wild. Sure, I will occasionally get the literary masterpiece that is "Captain Lactaid and the Cheese Invaders" but the point here is that I will find peace. If you're a singer, crank up the tunes and bless us with your voice, as I bless the neigbours with mine: so much so that they bang on the walls to provide musical accompaniment.

I have made a commitment, ladies and gents. I will probably live-tweet what I can imagine the messages to be, and I just KNOW this is the week someone offers me a lifetime supply of Wine Gums if I respond within 6 minutes, but I shall persevere. So far so good, no messages read since probably Monday 7pm. ...10:00pm. Ok fine, today morning, WHATEVER my finger slipped. I should probably check the last message I sent to be sure and not mislead my loving audience, but I won't. Strong Evey. Until next time, darlings!


  1. my word did you succeed in staying off whatsapp? i bet you didn't..i bet my liver on it!!! now if i lose this bet drinks will be on you for the rest of my life :) @Loovehippy

    1. This right here is discrimination. I have a condition! :p

  2. Replies
    1. Okaaaaaaay. O.o
      Best of luck in your endeavours, sir.