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This post is part of my 2022 Word Project. You can read what that’s about here.

Wednesday, May 10, 2023
8:28 pm

Today was busy. I started getting up at 5AM again so I can get in all my exercise, shower, have breakfast and have time to write before the day crashes down. Tsunamis in.

It hasn’t affected my night hours, though, since I stay up until midnight anyway and then regret it ruefully. Grievously.

Given that I’m fairly fatigued, and anything requiring too much thought or philosophizing is off the table, like flung across the room and stomped flat in a corner off the table, I was pondering what I could write that would be light and fun.

And the idea of a top ten list popped into my head. I’m in a listicle sort of mood, and since the date is a nice, round 10, I’m going to do a Top Ten list.

I thought about what kind of list to write. Places I love. Things that make me happy on a random Wednesday. Best food things ever.

In the end I settled on Top Ten Things I Would Bring With Me If I Had To Spend A Year On A Deserted Island With No Technology.

Especially as technology has been on every last one of my frayed nerves lately.

Every document that crashes, every time I have to tap three times instead of two before my trackpad will respond, every time I want to perform the most menial of tasks, like “create Twitter account for Steve’s YouTube channel” and it turns into a 30 minute battle with captchas and codes and unavailable usernames and registration pages that get caught in a loop and emails that never arrive and JavaScript that refuses to load unless I disable every plugin and privacy control in my browser….

Every one of those things makes a technology-less island that much more attractive.

So I’m going with it. I’m planning my escape. Goodbye page not found, I have an island now.

Let’s assume that whatever I bring would be enough to last for a year. I have a very big suitcase.

And let’s assume I’m not living like the sole survivor of a plane crash. My island would have basic living things like food and water and electricity and a bed. Think: AirBnb without the WiFi. So everything I bring would sort of be a “luxury” item, something nobody is going to have there for me but that I wouldn’t want to be without for a whole year.

And let’s assume that while I may not be alone on the island, people are few and far between.

This is my year of bliss, after all.

Let’s begin.

Number one, writing things. Paper, pencils and sharpeners. I would absolutely have to document it all. And yes, I am very specifically bringing pencils because it’s the only way to write. Erasers optional.

Number two, music. I’m supposed to be going analog but that does create a conundrum, because these days all the albums in the world are on the five-inch rectangle of plastic in my hand. I mean, if you have to be impressed with technology, that is a good place to do it, but I am not going to have my phone so I’d have to go old school and get a record player with actual albums. I wouldn’t have fingertip access to every conceivable thing, but as long as I had a supply of the key ones, I could live for a year.

Neil Diamond. Abba. Creedence Clearwater Revival. Elton John. A bunch of 80s tunes. A bunch more 70s tunes. This isn’t the music list so I won’t worry about the specifics, but let’s just say I’d need a supply of music to sing along or chill out to.

Number three… I’m inclined to say “my cocktail bar” but that feels a bit like cheating. I mean, that requires a LOT of stuff. The alcohol alone takes up an entire wall of my apartment, and that’s before you get to the glassware and mixing tools and syrups and citrus and juices and blender and… I might need two suitcases.

Although with a year on an island just imagine all the really excellent cocktails I could come up with. So the heck with it, let’s bring it. If you really want to hang me on this one, I’ll grudgingly pare down to say, bourbon. If you insist.

Number four, candles. There, I’ll step it back. I love a good candle. Pumpkin spice. Saffron and rose. Amber and smoke. White woods and mint. I don’t need fancy ones, and I don’t even need a ton of variety. Just some of my favorites. And a lighter or some decent matches, obviously.

Number five, books. I would have to have books. Maybe I should have said library. On my fantasy island there is a library. I don’t know how it gets there, but it manifests full of interesting things to read. None of those things include Walden or Naked Lunch.

Halfway to my fantasy island.

We’re going to leave food off the list because let’s assume I’m not starving to death or eating coconuts for 365 days like the worst season of Survivor ever.

Sadly, my Peloton can’t come. As much as I love it, it counts as technology and requires an internet connection, which I decidedly do not have.

And I can’t bring my DDP yoga classes because those are on my phone, which presents a real conundrum because I do like both of those things and they keep me physically healthy. I suspect my island won’t require much physical exertion from me so I’ll need a way to get some exercise.

Therefore, number six, a bicycle. I could ride an actual bicycle, not just spin endlessly on a stationary one. I could tour the island and get exercise and enjoy the scenery.

Number seven, a Princess and the Pea amount of blankets. But my mother would have to get busy knitting because I only want the soft, squishy ones that she makes. I know my island is warm and balmy but it could get pretty chilly at night, and also I love cozy blankets.

Number eight, jigsaw puzzles. I wouldn’t put them at the tippy top of my can’t-live-without list but if I have a year to spend, I’ll probably want some basic entertainment. They keep my brain busy and do go rather well with a cocktail.

Number nine, cigars. Ditto above about going well with cocktails. Also books.

This is getting tricky now because I only have one left and I want to use my suitcase space wisely. I really feel like I want a camera, but that crosses into technology so it may not be allowed. I know I could go retro and say I’ll bring a film camera, but is there really that much difference from a technology standpoint if I take pictures that sit on a roll of film or I take pictures that sit on an SD card?

Eh. No camera. I have pencils, so I’ll draw the whole island.

Fortunately, my paper and pencils double not only as writing entertainment but as drawing entertainment. I could sketch the coconuts and the little green frogs that would almost certainly hop across my veranda. Plus since there is airmail service on my island, I could write letters to everyone who isn’t there so I could keep them apprised of the goings-on and they could write me back and tell me about life in the connected world.

Number ten, I’m torn between playing cards and Hello Kitty. I play about a hundred games of Solitaire on my phone a day, so I might as well have cards. Then I can build little houses out of them for an extra pastime. Besides, Hello Kitty always sneaks into my suitcase wherever I go so even if I don’t put her on the list, she will end up there anyway.

Problem solved.

That was fun. It has also sparked the idea for a whole list series. Next time I’m running on five hours of sleep and a web page encounters an unexpected error, please try again later, I can continue to perfect my island.

Perhaps with a list of my top kitchen cooking supplies. Or an essential album list. Or, if you’re really going to hold my feet to the fire, the top things from my cocktail bar that I can’t live without.

So many listabilities.

If you’re inclined to visit me on my island, be sure to bring your own ten most important things, and do let me know what they are so if we bump into each other we can share and have even more fun.

Photo: the view from Hawaii, taken by my brother Kevin when he visited. It suits my vision just perfectly.