Late last week I went a full 24+ hours without reliable internet access. It was truly an exercise in survival.
Now, keep in mind I had only limited internet access- not NO internet access. I was able to “borrow” a couple of off and on wireless signals from Zachaholic and WonderMuff (I’m not making those up)- just a couple of the characters who have kindly not secured their wireless signals in our neighborhood. Still, I felt like I was going crazy.
Suddenly I was wondering what was happening in the news- ignoring both the newspaper on the kitchen counter and the fact that I could have turned the TV on to one of the four 24 hour news channels.
I fretted over any missed emails from folks planning playdates- ignoring the cell phone, fax machine, and four telephones in the house.
Speaking of emails- I wondered if I was missing a funny or cool link my wife had sent, an inspirational chain mail from a grandparent, a nugget of wisdom from Meredith123, or even if there was a foreign source where I could receive prescription medication at dirt cheap prices.
I wondered about other people’s Facebook status changes- again ignoring the other immediate forms of communication available to me.
And then something started to change. Subtly, at first.
I no longer felt the same angst over how “such and such” or “so and so” is going to ruin the United States or its economy.
I no longer really missed finding out the “5 Random Things to Get Your Attention” or “5 Things to Have When Zombies Attack” lists people were filling out on Facebook that day.
I started noticing other things, too. Things much more immediate and real to me. Like how my daughter is getting better at potty training. How she loves to take a walk and listen to the birds chirp. How you could almost seem to hear the leaves and flowers growing last week as the weather finally warmed up. How, when you live uptown you never have to be bored- you can walk to both the main library and the ImaginOn library, you can ride a trolley or a train, or you can sit on the corner, eat a snack, and just “people watch”.
Now my internet access is back. And while it does provide a valuable tool to stay in touch and informed, I believe I am going to try to step away a little from “News as Entertainment” websites and also spend a little less time networking with folks online. Instead, I plan to spend more time outdoors and actually interacting face to face with people.
I’ll Twitter the details for you later and let you know how it goes.