Yikes, a week without internet—how will I survive such a nightmare? Due to a recent move and a mix up with the diabolical Comcast monopoly my home internet would not be available for a week or so. It was the “or so” that concerned me. After the jitters wore off I regained my composure and created a plan. I decided I would use the no internet time to write more as I would be less distracted with incidental emails and mindless web-surfing (all in the name of research mind you). With a new found verve for less interruption I began the week blocking out sections of time for neglected projects and setting defined writing goals—that were reasonable. I would then use the nearby Starbucks (with grave reluctance) for sending finished work and keeping up on necessary emails.
It was a pathetic start I must admit. Pining over not being able to check a fact at the drop of a click was irritating. Pre internet I merely would have gone to the library and looked it up. It became obvious to me that my concentration had been diluted with frequent intermissions. Answering emails immediately was impossible (no I don’t own an iphone and my android is too lethargic to pen a proper response). I found myself making lists of things I needed to attend to once at the Starbucks which by the way I realized is merely a glorified McDonalds filled with large people ordering sugar laden coffee drinks and a premade something or other. I bought the only healthy thing in there, a little green drink that was five dollars. People stared—see what I mean about my focus?
Finally midweek I settled into writing without worrying about who Facebooked or tweeted me. I still checked on my phone but waited to reply until the writing was complete. With all the marvels internet has gifted me, I realized it also has stolen. It has snuck away with my time. Time that I would have perhaps simply sat in conversation or indulged a daydream or spent reading or listening to KPFA rather than checking what the seas in Iceland are up to. Conversations and stories fuel my writing along with good ole ingenuity. Google kidnapped part of my imagination but I have paid the ransom and want it back.
This has been a week of perspective and relearning to live without the immediacy of the net. I think therein lies the real issue. The conditioning of getting instantaneous results made patience a thing of the past—at least I have found this to be true in my case. To cultivate patience one needs to wait. Between phones and computers we are in permaplug in mode and I don’t think this is natural. Computers have shrunk our distance from one another but only on the condition that we relinquish our time. We work longer hours now because we can. The internet makes life easier and harder all in one—unless we put a limit on it. Tame it—let it know who is boss. I am not a politician why do I need news updates every fifteen minutes—enough!
Miracles happened this week with no internet (or cable). My husband and I star gazed and talked more than we normally do about dreams and desires and fears that often go unspoken. We danced in the living room and made love on the deck (there are no neighbors behind us). There was a fantastic sense of freedom. But sigh not for I have not morphed into a Pollyanna; soon I will be plugged back into the world of cyberspace with all of its conveniences and distortions of reality. Internet definitely has amazing benefits—such as working remotely (which I currently do) and online college courses. But like all things good—there are limits. Let’s face it, Vitamin C is good for you but too much of it gives you the runs. So I made a pledge to put boundaries on my net use to begin each day not with checking emails but meditating and being grateful and to be mindful of not overfilling my mind with useless computer chatter. I think on a regular basis I will challenge myself and say no to the net—if even just for a day. That way I will feel refreshed and centered—and running like the high speed after a cleanup. If you are too frightened of trying this alone, there are now adult camps where nothing electronic is allowed. You would be safe and supported with others trying to reconnect within.
Causes Karen Devaney Supports
Eve Ensler and any organization that deals with issues supporting women and children and the advancement of their education.