Monday, October 1, 2012

Lessons from a Local Disconnected Week-end

I’ve always known that when I’m on vacation and away from the computer, I get more reading done. That observation makes sense to me. Much of my reading has migrated to the Internet, after all. I only read a newspaper that’s on paper not pixels when I visit my parents. I only subscribe to paper magazines which will provide good collage images.

However, I’ve also noticed that when I’m on vacation and away from the computer I sleep later. I feel more relaxed. Is that because I’m on vacation or because there’s no Internet?

On Thursday, we realized our phones and Internet were gone. We called (hurrah for cell phones) and were told we wouldn’t have service until Monday. A technician showed up yesterday, but sure enough, the two main cables were fried, and they’d need to be replaced. Hopefully that will happen today.

But in the meantime, it’s been a peaceful week-end. I did sleep later. I read a whole book, which I rarely do in a single week-end anymore—unless I’m on vacation. I went for a run on Sunday morning, which I rarely do at home.

I thought we might get out and do more around town, the way we do when we’re on vacation. But because we’re at our house, there are still chores that need to be done. I got errands run. My spouse and I tackled the yard—which got a thorough edging and mowing; we’ll usually skip the edging if it’s just one of us doing it.

It was also a peaceful week-end in the neighborhood. As summer moves into autumn, more of our neighbors resume their outdoor life, especially during football season. Several neighbors haul their televisions into their back yards, where they grill and listen to music and watch the game and get increasingly louder as they get drunker.

But not this week-end. So, we enjoyed our backyard: we mowed and then we grilled each meal and then we watched evening come and the full moon rise.

I didn’t leave the computer entirely. I typed in some poems, and I worked on a short story. I’m sure I made more progress on the short story than I would have if I was also able to blog. It was strange not to be able to use online sources to look things up. I used a dictionary—the old-fashioned, door stop of a book kind—to look up a word or two.

In short, with every task I undertook, I noticed I was less distracted and less irritable. Is that because I go more sleep or because there were fewer Internet tasks or because we stayed home instead of zooming all over the county?

It was a good experiment, even if it wasn’t one of our choosing. It’s good to realize how out of sorts I can get when I’m too plugged in. It’s good to remember the different kind of life I might have if I could disconnect more.

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