While I was on the cruise detailed in the last post, I didn’t access the Internet in any real sense; I went on it once, to download two pieces I used for my reading, but didn’t look at anything else when I did than those two pieces. Otherwise, from the 10th to the 17th, I was entirely Internet free — the longest stretch of time I lived without the Internet for almost two decades.
It was surprisingly easy. For one thing, I had the super-fantastic Kate Baker watching the site here, so I didn’t have any concern at all that the site would be overrun by trolls and spam when I got back. So I was able to put the site entirely out of my mind. For another thing, I was hanging out with a bunch of friends, which is just like being on Twitter, except live. For a third thing, I left autoresponders on my email which said, essentially, “I’m not going to read this email you just sent me,” which I thought was sufficiently considerate. For a final thing, I was digging on the idea of unplugging from the world for a week, enjoying the bubble I was in and then having my mind explode when I plugged back in and discovered what sort of damn foolishness the world had gotten itself into while I was away.
And it mostly worked, I would note: While I was on the cruise only three bits of news got in: The Pope resigning, the Russian meteor, and, perhaps least surprisingly of all, that mess on the Carnival Triumph, which I think most of had a bit of nervous schadenfreude over. The rest of it went right past me. And sure enough, when I came back, I checked into CNN and spent a good twenty minutes shaking my head and saying “oh, world,” in an exasperated yet bemused voice.
I had warned my wife that I might spend a couple of days on Internet withdrawal, but in truth that didn’t happen because I was sufficiently occupied. It was genuinely a pleasurable experience not to always be checking in on the Internet. Mind you, I recognize that I actually had to go to sea, without phone service or Internet less expensive than sixty cents a minute, to achieve this equanimity about my lack of connectedness. Even so.
So there, Internet. I didn’t miss you.
Oh, don’t look at me like that, Internet. Come here. Let’s hug and make up.
What? No, of course I wasn’t checking Twitter while I was hugging you!
Yeah, okay. I was checking Facebook.