Thursday, June 26, 2008

Notes from underground

Well, not actually underground, but with no internet access until today (the land of no internets).

Without access, I started reading more and writing more. If I couldn't think of an answer to a minor factual point in two seconds, it really didn't matter, since I knew I'd find the answer eventually. "Eventually" is a word that doesn't seem relevant in a Googleized world, but I'm warming to it.

Without access, I still wasted time, but I wasted it in different ways. I looked at the floorboards where I'm staying, which are a good foot across, and the crossbeams supporting the house, which are just peeled logs, and wondered when the last time trees that big were in this area. I wondered how, when the place got retrofitted for things like bathrooms and kitchen sinks, the owners decided where to put them.

Without access, I spent more time outdoors and in the sun.

When I finally drove the many miles to a place with a Panera and got online, I thought I'd be glad to be back in touch. Instead, though, it felt like an assault. I felt dazed as I sorted through the emails, as if Panera had melted away and left me with this world.

Then I got angry: why were people nagging me to do things? Of course they weren't doing anything but proceeding on the normal assumption that everyone is responsive to email 24/7/365; that's not their fault but mine for opening up the emails.

There's a lesson here someplace, but I'm not quite sure what it is. I think I'll drive back and stare at the floorboards some more.


heu mihi said...

Sometimes I wonder whether the internet isn't actually *not* a force of unambiguous good?

(How do you like that triple negative?)

ArticulateDad said...

Enjoy the separation. I sometimes toy with the idea of having a weekly computer sabbath. Most weeks I don't make it past the first few hours of e-depravation... but it's a worthy goal.

... and heu mihi, I think the same can be said about the university!

Mel said...

a little unplugging can be a good thing...

undine said...

heu mihi, I'm starting to wonder the same thing. OTOH, I was anxious to get back to it, but having it in little bits was worse than not having it at all, in a way.

articulatedad, I've read about some people taking a weekly computer sabbath but haven't formally tried it except for my 5:00 experiment last summer.

mel, glad you're back blogging!