I pulled the plug on my Internet connection 12 days ago. It’s been a painful detox. It was especially painful before Dish Network finally got their act together and restored my satellite service. It’s amazing just how long the 5:15-to-bedtime stretch is when you don’t have electronic stimuli. I’ll sit in my basement after balancing my checkbook and just stare at my computer. My wireless router is still plugged in and its blank signal still shows up, taunting me. Why did we ever use computers before the Internet? I have this vague feeling that I enjoyed and valued my family’s computer four or five years before the Internet became ubiquitous, but for the life of me, I can’t figure out why. I guess there’s the whole word processor thing, but once you’re out of school, there’s not much use for it.
But I’ve been getting a lot of stuff done. I’m 2/3 through The Fountainhead, so that’s cool. I heartily recommend it. But it is a challenging book. Not in its vocabulary or style, but in the sense that it challenges you. To paraphrase Dominique Francon (one of its main characters), I love it so much I hate it.
The Internet was consuming my every waking hour. After staring at my laptop at work for 8 hours a day, I was going home to sit on my couch and staring at my laptop on the coffee table, even as I ate and watched TV. My near-obsessive e-mail checking was getting out of hand and I’m convinced it wasn’t going to be long before my GoogleAlerts and GoogleReader go all Manchurian Candidate on me. I’ve been able to resist the siren call of Twitter, but God help me I spent way too much time on Facebook.
OK, so I wasn’t quite to that level yet, but it was gradually creeping that direction. Plus, it was costing me $88 a month (you have to have home phone service to have DSL).
So now, all my Internetting happens at the office. I still have a fairly strong conviction against using company bandwidth/time for personal use, so I do a reasonable job of actually working throughout the day and saving the surfing for during lunch or after 5. Sure, it’s a little annoying to have to run to work or Panera every time I wanted to check movies times or order a pizza (God forbid I actually dial a phone), but cutting connections has helped ground me to the real world again. At least that’s what I tell myself. Of course, it also helps that I’m saving $88 a month.
(Though I did post this during work hours, I typed it at home and thumbdrived it here. Hey lookie there: A use for word processors!)
Now if I can just pull the plug on E!. Sigh.