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Me: Unplugged

March 24, 2012

“Saying this is bad is like saying traffic is bad, or health-care surtaxes, or the hazards of annular fusion: nobody but Ludditic granola-crunching freaks would call bad what no one can imagine being without.” – From the novel Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

24+ hours without:

  • Internet
  • Television
  • Mobile phone (a couple of exceptions were made early to link up with a friend)
  • iPod + headphones (I made exceptions for the iPod + external speakers)

It was scary. Scary because I went through periods of withdrawal. I wanted the Internet. I wanted connectivity. I craved it. My computer called out to me, begging me to fire up, to connect.

I rejected the call. Instead of reading articles, I read a novel. Instead of sending messages on Facebook, I talked to my family. Instead of writing e-mails, I composed letters. Difficult as it was, I found outlets for all this troubling angst. I got through the day; I even enjoyed it.

What I learned was more disturbing. I discovered that I use the Internet because I need to feel this sense of connection to the wider world. Nothing I do on the Internet is a truly essential and important part of my life. E-mail? Facebook? News? It can all wait. Will I remember this the next time I power up my computer? Here’s the disturbing part: no. I’m in too deep. My life is inextricably intertwined with my connection to technology. Only a complete rupture (like packing up my things and traveling abroad) will sever this cord.

If you also unplugged last night, I’d love to hear about your experience.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 24, 2012 8:16 PM

    I unplugged and was surprised by how not awful it felt. There were a few times I reached reflexively for the iPhone, but never once thought about/missed the television.
    Granted, tonight I’m gorging on season one of Dexter, but haven’t done much Internet or texting.
    Are you going to unplug regularly? I’m debating it.

  2. March 24, 2012 8:24 PM

    Thanks for the comment. Just curious: how did you use your extra time? Did you feel any sense of liberation?

    Speaking personally, the hardest to unplug will be Internet. I don’t watch TV at all save for the occasional sporting event. I’ve stated before on here that I own a dumb phone, so phone addiction is not a problem. But the Internet…the only solution will be time limits.

    • March 24, 2012 8:51 PM

      The funny part was I did everything I usually do-I took my daughter to gymnastics class and the library, read books (her’s and mine) and listened to music. I did reach for the iPhone out of habit a few times, but it was basically for the convience of a text message or GPS.
      As for liberated, not really. I was more surprised at how much easier it was than I had thought it would be.

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