It's not that this isn't a nice place, because it is.
It's lovely, in fact.
There are gardens with roses and wisteria and comfy benches. Through the gardens run paved paths that don't hurt your feet through the terry-cloth slippers they give you when you first arrive. When I'm a little stronger, they'll let me walk along the cliff path so I can look at the ocean.
The building is lovely, too. It's a rambling, white structure with plenty of picture windows and shiny wood floors. My room is on the second story and overlooks a small, tiled fountain that burbles day and night. I have a heavenly feather bed and a private bathroom filled with fluffy towels and crystal jars of bath salts.
Like I said: lovely, right?
Well, you can have my room because first chance I get, I'm goin' over the wall.
That's right. Why? Because I'm disconnected. Out of the loop. Off the grid. That's how I've felt ever since they...[sob]...they made me give up my Twitter.
I've been in here a week now, so it's getting a little easier for me to talk about it...
It started so innocently. I kept hearing about this social networking site called "Twitter," so I checked it out and I was...intrigued.
Here were all these people, sending out tiny messages ("tweets") about what they were doing or thinking:
BennysDad Leaving for work. Cat puked on rug again. Acted like I didn't see it. Wife is going to freak when she discovers.
Soon2BStar May parents are total asshats! No WAY and I spending Xmas vaca away from Darryl!! Bite it, Mom & Dad!
PrincessMommyLA Since her husband got sick, "T" has dropped so much weight. It's not fair - she gets all the breaks.
Before I knew it, I had a personal profile page and was sending out little tweets of my own.
Then something magical happened: I got a follower! That's right, someone out there wanted to read my tweets - how about that? Pretty soon I had dozens - then hundreds - of followers (my "tweeps") and I was following hundreds, too.
It was like being plugged into a kaleidoscope of tiny little reality shows, each with its own star and story line...and I was invested in every one of them:
GramHugs is going to the store now. Hope she remembers to buy Depends, although how could she forget after what happened at her niece's wedding?
AngryTater is stuck making 40 cotton-ball Santas for her daughter's class. When, oh, when will she learn to stop volunteering for everything?
HoracetheSlayer is going deer hunting this weekend. Shame on you, Horace! I hope Bambi eats your face off.
Apparently, it was about this time that my turncoat family decided I was - what was the word they used? Oh, right: obsessed.
Excuse me, but I don't see the difference between Twitter and their hobbies like golf or clog dancing or looping potholders or whatever. Sheesh, you forget the pick the kids up at school a few times and everyone has a cow and attacks your lifestyle.
So, after one particularly ugly incident during which my laptop was seized by the vice principal during the Middle Child's school production of "The Magnificent Seven," it was decided that I should spend some quiet time away and "reflect on my priorities."
In other words, they cut me off from my tweeps and stuck me in here on a technology time out.
Oh, sure, I've played along. I've talked to their counselors. I've sat through their intervention sessions, which cover things like this:
Signs that you may have an unhealthy relationship with Twitter:
- You've been wearing the same dingy sweatpants for four days straight.
- You've tweeted during your job performance review, sex and/or childbirth.
- Your conversations consist solely of condensed, 160-character yelps.
- You no longer answer to your given name, but you respond immediately to "BitterMomof3."
All those people who were so concerned (my husband, kids, former boss, mother, mailman, pastor, meter reader and prison pen pal) don't get it. They think I can't handle it, but I can.
I can stop anytime I want.
Say, is that a Blackberry you've got there? Mind if I borrow it for a moment? I just need to do one little thing - it won't take long at all.
Please? You'd really be helpin' me out.
Just one tweet, man. Seriously.
That's all I'm askin'.