Monday, July 21, 2008

Intarweb Fail Leads to Happiness

I spent this weekend at home completely sans-internet. My Dell desktop (circa 2000) is in its final death throes, and I inadvertently left my work laptop at work on Friday afternoon. I returned to my apartment - which was covered in the books I had shipped myself from ALA, books and paperwork related to my MFA stuff, and the kitchen, let's just say the kitchen table is where I toss all my crap when I walk through the door. I've been needing to tidy up for weeks, but it's tough to concentrate on something like that when my IM is always bleeping, and my Gmail needs checking.

So, I restrained myself. I hit the gym and the grocery on Saturday and did not go to the office to get my computer. Some of you will understand the restraint I exhibited there. Instead, I went home, showered, played with the dogster, tidied, read Envy the Night (yes, that's right, I have an Advance Reader's Copy. Thank you, ALA vendors), and saw The Dark Knight (which was fabulous). Sunday, I hit the gym again, and also managed to read Once Were Cops, which was intriguing, Final Theory, which was a lovely romp through unified field theory and terrorism by Scientific American columnist Mark Alpert, and First Daughter, which was a quick read. I also read The Last Patriot, which had an intriguing premise, but (imho) a poorly executed conclusion.

Yep, you read that right. Yesterday I plowed through four books. It was awesome. I didn't have the internet around to distract me (though I did stand up at random moments when I felt the need to MapQuest a location to see where it was in relation to D.C.) and I reverted to my usual domestic, book-nerd self. I didn't feel the need to see what was going on in internet world (well, not too much), and I felt free and unfettered simply by not being tied to a monitor by my eyeballs. I also felt relaxed, which is not a word I would have used to describe myself in the past few months. Being unplugged gave me the mental downtime I needed to simply breathe, unclutter my space (which does wonders for my state of mental health), and stop feeling like I need to know exactly what is going on in the blogo-friendfeed-CNN-osphere every moment of every day.

It also gave me an excuse to call my people on the phone and hear their voices, as opposed to using the lazy instant message way that I am usually guilty of. It was nice to hear friends' voices - a real laugh is better than any emoticon. Without the laptop in front of me, I could give my full attention to everything I did (the dog attests that his bellyrubs were much closer to satisfactory). It felt like I had washed my brain of the ADD tendencies I've developed since starting my first professional position. Those tendencies are necessary for survival, I think, in a world where interruptions are constant and unpredictable, and there are always more irons in the fire than you have time for, and fewer resources than you need. But the weekend not dealing with that? Lovely. Just lovely. Except for weekends when I need to get papers written, or when work-stuff absolutely must be brought home, I do believe I'll be leaving the lappy in my office more often.


Jezmynne said...

Hmmmm... this is a thought provoking concept. I think I'll give it a whirl, starting with one dedicated no online day, perhaps Saturday. Saturday is slow, library wise, and I wont have to monitor chat or feel obligated to check email for reference questions. Those usually appear on Sunday night after dinner, anyway.

Great idea! Very inspiring.

Hedgehog Librarian said...

I'm bad about disconnecting at home, really bad. But I do try very hard when I'm traveling--as it's usually to see friends. When there are people in front of me, the screen can wait. It is freeing. :) Glad you found some time away.