Tuesday, August 10, 2010

"Don't pull those wires out, we're okay. Nothing's gonna happen. Nothing is going to happen!"

Il dolce far niente. An Italian phrase meaning “the sweetness of doing nothing”. Oh how I wish I could say I learned this high form of art while fasting technologically. But . . . I did not {sad face}.

(I’m not entirely convinced that Americans will ever learn the Importance of Being Idle. Finding Something to Do is in our blood. I’m not bragging. It’s a sickness, really. Besides, I think it’s good to work hard and enjoy the spoils of our work by doing absolutely nothing. I just don’t think I’m one of those people who has this ability. But I’d like to. . . ) (See what happens? Already I digress!)

DAY ONE: The week of the fast started out fine enough. Sunday was D-day – the first day I was internet-less. At first, it was fun. Kind of like a game I was playing with myself. It was liberating. Sort of in the way that a vacation sets you free. Even so, I went to sleep with visions of computer screens dancing in my head. I’m pretty sure I dreamed about the internet that night.

DAY TWO: I got to work on Monday and the impulses started. I wanted to Google. E-mail. Text someone. Look at the poor excuse for news on MSN. Something. Anything. I have never felt more like an addict. I knew I had to identify my triggers. So, I took a yellow notepad and started two columns. The one on the left said “Want to Look Up” and the one on the right said “Did”. Then underneath, I added another column called “Reasons”. I kept this list by me all week and whenever I felt the urge to stop what I was doing and look something up that was not work or school related, I wrote it down under that first column and wrote what I was feeling under Reasons.

Did you know that sometimes I want to look up the stupidest things? Like the French pronunciation of Jeansonne. Like the definition of effusive and what phenylalanine really is. And what a chaturanga yoga pose looks like. I want to find out where I can buy the dryblock sunscreen I bought in some store somewhere years ago that we have not been able to find since (even though we look every time). I want to know whether the cell phone “do not call” list was a scam because I am getting calls from 617 and 342 area codes. (And a little later in the week, I actually cave on this last one and look up the area codes.) (What!? It was an emergency!) (The codes are fakes, btw.)

On another piece of paper, I wrote “Musings” – a record of my thoughts and impressions as I went through the week. I also recorded each day’s summary in my journal. One of my first thoughts was something about how badly I hoped the e-world was missing me. I secretly hoped someone somewhere out there was sending me an e-mail (or a text or a FB message) saying “the e-world is just not the same without you!” (Seriously, how vain is that!?)

Also on that first day, I thought about all the stuff I wrote in my pre-blog days. All those journals. . . And I thought about the notes and calendars and stuff I keep now. And then I thought about what would happen if I had to use pen and paper to record everything for all the rest of my time on earth. Then, I thought “where are they gonna put all that paper when I’m dead”? Then, I thought, “on the other hand, where does all the ‘stuff’ I put on the internet go? Where does that trail end? And who’s to say that someone in some far distant future won’t assume my e-identity and assume all my ‘stuff’ as his or her own and continue where I left off?” My ‘Stuff’ hanging around out there in the internets ad infinitum, with the possibility of being stolen, subsumed, or otherwise perpetuated forever and ever gives me a bit of a panic attack, to tell the truth. Go figure. You’d think the opposite would be true. That I’d be flattered. Or not.

But also, what happens if there is a digital apocalypse? Where does all my stuff go then? And what if I no longer have a digital room to put all my ‘stuff’ in?

. . . to be continued . . .

[Title quote is from "LOST"]

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