Once upon a time I was very disciplined about my internet use and determined to stay that way. All that connectivity can be pretty disconnecting. What is perfectly clear outside of the fray is obliterated by the noise within it.
Except that’s not what it says when it’s calling your name. When it’s whispering: Library! Post office! Your place of belonging! Your chance! (At least that’s what it murmurs to me.)
A friend of mine leaves her computer at work, schedules on-line times, and stays off-line for much of the day. That she is following the plan I used to have grates. I console myself with the fact she owns a phone. She might not write from it, but surely, she is trapped by the need to check? Again and again? I should not find comfort in imagining this to be true.
For weeks and weeks, and possibly a few weeks before that, I have been planning to make a plan. Libraries are wonderful. They exist with closing hours. Mail service faster and cheaper than the pony express is great. But a breathless check every hour or so to see if any more ponies are standing at the gate takes away from the sacredness of here and now. There’s plenty of water and grass in the pasture; their needs are not urgent. Brushing and re-brushing old ponies when the pony I’m waiting for fails to appear might not make the pony come faster. (This is a theory I’m considering. Superstition dies hard.)
The thought of planning to make a plan feels good. I know because of all these weeks riding the waves of good feelings. Actually making a plan does not feel good, it feels alarming. It feels like I’ve gotten involved with a bad idea. I have to picture my friend obsessing on her phone in the middle of the night in order to calm down.
Long term commitment is too intimidating. While waiting for the strength to enact accountable reform, I’ve been experimenting here and there. Used pen and paper. Unplugged the internet connection from the wall. Gone places to write that don’t have internet.
I relay the following results slowly because the implications agitate me.
I. really. really. like. how. those. spaces. feel. How the work goes. I. even. like. me. afterwards.
The happiness I feel away from the internet does not seem to diminish the panic I feel about expanding the experiment this week. I have limited the exercise to five days, two and a half of which I’m committed to communal activities all day long and therefore unable to access my computer anyway. It’s not a bold plan; it’s what I can manage. Five days. One hour of internet per day, used in no more than two blocks. Or three. The end. After that I go back to whatever lopsided unbalanced illogical rhythm I want. Plus there is steak, cake, and asparagus. By Tuesday, the list may have expanded to include chocolate covered almonds and a shrimp ring. Illicit drugs have never appealed. By Thursday, that may have changed.