Monday, July 29, 2013
I can't remember a day when I didn't check the computer. There must have been one. Many such days, five or 10 years ago. But not recently. Not one I specifically remember. Not one where I woke up and told myself, "No, I think I'll pass on Facebook today." Never happens. Not at home. I have a big honking iMac in my home office, another one in the living room -- the living room! -- on its own little corner desk, a special piece of triangular computer furniture that I finished myself, hand-buffing it with super fine steel wool, as if preparing a shrine. I'm surprised I don't have a few sticks of incense burning next to it, flower garlands draped about and maybe a small plate of fruit, as an offering to the godhead.
And of course I check it at work. It's the first thing I do when I arrive at my office downtown—flop my fingers onto the keyboard as soon as my butt hits the chair, see what has changed in the hour I've been commuting. Some days I rarely seem to lift my fingers off the keys. And don't forget the smart phone — is that term still current? — the plain-old phone then, a mini-computer itself, and I can surf and text and post to my heart's content, which means continually. And the laptop....
I could, of course, just take a day off and not do it. Set the phone aside. Power down the iMacs. Interact with people the old-fashioned way, face-to-face. I could do that. Easily. But I've never even considered trying, never mind done it. Why? I guess the honest answer is, I want to be online. It fills the place where something else used to be. "It's like having friends," to quote Luna Lovegood's chirpy, infinitely sad phrase.
Though I still haven't decided: does the Internet really make you feel less alone? Or more? Does it fulfill you or only distract you?
That's a toughie.
Maybe it really is an addiction. Shit. Another addiction. Just what I need. I try to resist thinking that way. Not everything you like is necessarily an addiction. Just the things you do all the time and want to stop, but don't stop, because the truth, which you try to ignore, is that you can't stop. Though I can. At least I think I can, I wouldn't know, I haven't tried.
Hmmmm....that does ring familiar, doesn't it?
No question, I can stop. Surely. At least for a day. Certainly I can. Now that I've had the idea, I am going to do it. Once. See what it's like. Some Saturday. Some day soon. Just wake up, walk straight into the garden and start weeding. Read a book, the kind with covers and pages. Get in the car, wander somewhere. Off to the Chicago Botanic Garden, to stroll around nature, which was here long before all these machines, and will be here long after. We are only on this earth for a short while. And we are spending our time playing Angry Birds -- well, I'm not. No, I'm too sophisticated for that. I'm spending my time playing Facebook Scrabble. One thousand three hundred and eighty-eight games, so far. And counting. Surely I can miss a day. One day. One.