For nearly a month. With the scarce comfort of a friend’s wireless once a week or so. It’s been a long, long near-month – and yes, I guess I’ll give in and buy myself a smartphone, one of these days.
Still, I didn’t go mad as I thought I would at first. Why, the day I was back online I even caught myself… well, not exactly missing my netless state, but still. Because the fact is, after the first week or so of frantic despair, I adjusted rather well. No email to check every other minute, no blogs, no Pinterest, no Facebook, no Twitter, no chats, no forums, no way to google this, and that, and that again… Was it inconvenient? Very. Was it unpleasant? Well, no. In some ways it was rather… restful.
Not that it was a restful month in a broad sense – quite the contrary, in fact.
I designed lights for two different plays in three weeks, I helped launch a new association, I had two meetings of my not-quite-reading group, I struggled with two commissioned works, I shirked the commissioned works for the time it took to write the first draft a short story that wouldn’t leave me alone, I made second place in a contest (with a monologue), I prepared and gave a talk in Milan… Quite the busy month.
And so I have to wonder. Was being offline conducive to getting more things done? I can’t take it on myself to say it wasn’t. I have known for some time that the Web is my Well of Lost Hours… and not exactly “lost”, if you like, because yes, there are lots of useful things I do there – research, work, reading, studying, keeping contacts, and so on – but still.
I’m not saying I should or could do without the Internet – help and deliver us! I’d never survive, because of the kind of work I do, because of the place I live – a tiny village in the middle of nothing much – and for a number of reasons. But perhaps I could give myself the occasional offline time. A week a month, perhaps? But no, that’s both too much and too little. What about a month each year?
Which month should I choose, if I did? How exactly would I go about it? Because I know myself, and my non-existent ability to resist temptations… Nothing short of spending the month in some entirely internet-free place would hold me to it. Or perhaps I might just unhook my modem and give it to someone else to keep. To keep and hide. To keep and hide very well.
Anyway, this is something I need to think through, because I couldn’t live offline, but with some organised netlessness now and then, I could really do.