Also, No, I Didn’t Miss the Internet All That Much
Posted on February 18, 2013 Posted by John Scalzi 23 Comments
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.
Wait, are you saying you didn’t miss interacting with us? (sniffling)
I missed all of you, of course! It’s the rest of the Internet I’m talking about!
I’m basically online constantly, but usually 2-3 times a year I become *completely unreachable* for days at a time, usually for vacations, often for music festivals. I always find it’s a great thing to just … get away, for a while, from everyone and everything. Even things I really enjoy on the internet, it’s better to leave them alone once in a while. :)
I do this on a regular basis with backpacking trips. It’s nice. And backpacking is way cheaper than a cruise.
I’ve had a bit of experience with this. I had 3000 new e-mails after my honeymoon, twenty-five years ago.
Yes, but less pithy? Kudos for being considerate enough to not merely name-drop your compatriots, but actually link to their sites. Oh, and welcome back. I guess this means we have to give up Kate now…not that your not special too!
I’m always surprised when I get back online after an absence and discover how little happened while I was gone. It seems so compelling when you’re online, but if you can break the cord (so much easier said than done), time flies by. And your Best of posts were great–fun, entertaining, wonderful choices–so thanks for keeping us amused in your absence!
Well we missed you!
What Sarah Wynde said. Nothing happens on the internet unless I’m there!
I am addicted to the internet, and my husband is probably worse ( to be fair, he works in IT). When we took the spawn on a trip to Disney World + cruise, neither one of us really noticed the absence of all our gadgets. I know a lot of people dislike cruises for very good reasons, but they’re a great way to truly get away from it all.
In soviet russia, meteor misses you.
I heard Putin punched it with a tiger.
So, I know Russia is a vast landmass. But it’s not exactly perpendicular to the plane of the ecliptic despite Earth’s axial tilt nominally enlarging its apparent target area for half of each day. Between Tunguska and now Chelyabinsk, Russia’s gotta be feeling a little singled out.
In early September 2001 Dad went on a backpacking trip in the Sierras with no contact with the outside world for a week. He was back for almost a day before he figured out what had happened while he was up above timberline.
@aphrael. Small world! (Assuming you’re the one I know from the cow site.)
[Deleted for being off-topic – JS]
Gulliver: Russia’s gotta be feeling a little singled out.
If Tunguska had landed on a city, it would have wiped it off the map. Maybe they should buy a lottery ticket….
You didn’t mention the most obvious benefit of entering the information diaspora – that you had the opportunity to concentrate your attention on Krissy because you were present in the here and now and not thinking about the netizens of Scalzi World. Wives can put up with a lot of distraction from their husbands if there are periods where you focus on them and remind them of how much you love them.
WRT the Russian meteorite, they aren’t all that special. Remember the Great Daylight Fireball of 1972? (http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap090302.html ) A little closer and it would have been another Tunguska. And, of course, California had its own incident the day after (http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/gallery?section=news/local&id=8851396&photo=1&pid=8995365 ). And we get smacked by tiny little meteorites every night. The only unusual thing about this past week was having so many big enough to be interesting rocks come visiting in such a short amount of time.
Actually, JCCC negotiated a special rate of 20 cents/minute for Internet access. (Not that it matters, but I can’t just let someone be wrong on the Internet.)
It’s funny. I do most of my net social stuff while at work. I know, spank me. When I get home there’s the iPad, xbox and my desktop (Vista). The desktop is a literal pain in the butt (need a better chair), the iPad is mostly for ‘book’ reading and so the xbox gets the most time of the three devices. And there are stretches of days I stay away from xbox. Does that make me a modern day ‘recluse’?
Having digressed as is my wont, glad you’re back in the world, John. It’s better off for it.
Wiredog, it is a small world. You’d know if I were the person you were referring to if you’d been able to make it to Jenkintown.
I was off the net for several days too, thanks to something called “visiting friends”, “eating out”, and “wine tasting”.
We missed you, John, but Kate introduced us to her kitty and that helped a lot.
I was offline, moving from Texas to Pennsylvania. Between loading the truck (which took far longer than I’d planned on) and then driving cross-country with 3 cats (which took far longer than I’d expected) and then unloading everything and trying to get a semblance of an office set up (because I was supposed to have started back working days earlier), today is the first I’ve really been online.
What I notice is that whatever tempest in a teapot was happening two weeks ago, is already forgotten in social media.