Thursday, August 12, 2010

"What do you want of me? Tell me anything. But do what I beg you to do."

DAY THREE: In the absence of the internet, I found more time to ponder things. I felt a better clarity for what is important. I was reading books again. Real books (and I find it kind of funny that under “Musings” I wrote, “I’m skeptical of people who prefer e-books over real books!”)

By Tuesday, I was still at a loss for being able to sift through the wreckage and identify the good versus the unnecessary, the valuable versus the inane. I was starting to consider that maybe meditation might be good? Maybe it would help me discover my Italian side?

Meanwhile, motives were uncovering themselves in my Reasons category. Sometimes, genuine curiosity kills my proverbial (technological?) cat. But mostly, it’s boredom, or mental fatigue, or habit, or anxiety, or when I’m stuck. But also, sometimes, it’s to feed my ego (what are people saying to me? about me?), or panic that I’m missing a deal, and sometimes, it’s for sheer entertainment. I also realize that I pride myself on using time efficiently, which is why I also tend to catch up on the couple of TV shows I watch while also on the internet. And I text while working, while dining, while in the car. It’s madness. Turns out, it also isn’t that efficient. It’s interruptive is what it is. Besides, what’s the big deal about using time efficiently, anyway? Where’s the rush? Where’s the fire?

DAY FOUR: On Wednesday morning, the reigning thought in my head was “Enough Already!” I was starting to miss People. Friends and family. I was starting to wonder what they have been up to. (It does not escape me what a sad social commentary it is that the internet is how we connect with friends and family these days. I know we’re all busy, but c’mon. Is it so bad to visit face to face once in a while?)

Back on Day Two, I had had what has come to be known as The Cake Day Incident, in which I ate waaaayyyy too much cake and then, in a post-binge/guilt phase, sat down with another yellow notepad and identified my eating and workout goals. By Day Four I was standing face to face with a piece of cake in my breakroom at work and as it stared at me and I stood there staring back, knowing that eating it was strictly verboden, I suddenly thought “What do I want MORE?” (a good question, yes?) I decided that, at that very moment, I wanted lost pounds more than I wanted to eat that stupid chocolate cake with raspberry filling and nice buttercream frosting. Having won the staring contest, I walked triumphantly from the room, and I decided that “What do I want more” was a good question for lots of things, including my tech fast.

So, what do I want more? I think it’s something having to do with wanting less. Less time interruptions, less impulses to grab the laptop in small moments of repose. Less drama. Less worries. And ultimately, that gives me more. More time to sit and ponder. More time to do things I enjoy. More time to pay attention to a little face that seeks it ever more directly. More time for late-night talks with hub (giving him my undivided attention).

Day Five: On Thursday, a funny thought occurred to me. “Well, at least the laptop battery is fully charged (because I’m not constantly running it down).” I’ve also realized I still don’t know how to balance this Whole Thing. By now, I’ve found plenty of good uses for the internet. I’ve wanted to search for books on health, how to buy raw milk at a place called Superstition Dairy, to find a book that was mentioned at church on Sunday, possible reasons my milk production might have suddenly decreased.

So, I start thinking about limits. Parameters. Shall I blog only twice a week? Have designated “computer days”? Log in to FB only once a week? Pick a handful (or two) of blogs and leave the rest? Shall I continue with a daily list of things to look up and do it only once a day?

So, on Thursday I start thinking about “Good, Better, Best.” I start thinking about how my use of the internet is largely impulse driven, that my Need to Know and the ease of access to Information trump my good sense sometimes.

On my lunch hour I travel to the hospital where they laid my baby in my arms for the first time. I’m there to get the written record of the process of his birth. While I’m waiting for the records to be produced, I sit in the cafĂ© eating a massive sandwich on thick nine grain. I stare out the window and I think about those first hours of motherhood. I think about the meals I ordered to my room. I think about how I was driven to make sensible choices, how I ordered sandwiches on whole wheat, fresh fruit, milk, water. I could have eaten all the greasy, fried, sweetened crap I could have stuffed down my gullet, but I didn’t. I’m thinking about all this when it settles over me like a blanket: “I know how to make good choices.”

. . . to be continued . . .

[Title quote is from "The Godfather"]

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