How do you even begin to catch up from a week of forced internet estrangement? The laptop was in the shop again, languishing, while the promised arrival of a new dvd drive (the second replacement) hovered in the horizon, waxing and waning with the schedule of the delivery trucks. It’s fine, I chanted, after peeling myself off the ceiling day after day. Surely there’s plenty to do that does not involve a laptop. Spinning, for example. Ah, spinning. 70+ skeins would love to be spun into luxurious yarn this very moment, but in one humbling debacle of a day last week, I learned that it was a task that could not be plowed through. No, I shall not be spinning four skeins a day. And I sure as hell can’t spin a thing when I’m polluted with resentment over a forced computer cleanse. Clumps of wool still lay strewn about in the manic, hair-pulling frenzy that was born of that day.
Writing. Surely I can do some writing – the old fashioned way – with pen and paper. Surely? Of course, but that snippet of blogged wisdom I hoped to distill and incorporate into new writing was tauntingly out of reach.
Farm things. Seeds to start, chicks to order, on and on goes the list. Wondering where those seeds are, that I order a month ago? Clearly I can’t check online, so a phone call is in order. Same goes for chick ordering – a good, old-fashioned phone call will get the job done. Now… what’s the phone number? I’d long ago purged the weighty phone books rendered obsolete with a quick google search. It was up to Andrew to peel me off the ceiling after this crippling realization hit home. Is there nothing that can be done these days without an internet connection? Within the time constraints imposed by the childcare meter ticking?
The sense of isolation was suffocating, the helplessness at not being able to accomplish any of the tasks before me made me plain mad. I didn’t even know what the weather forecast held, save the generalized state-wide outlook gleaned from the radio. It was sobering to see just how dependent I am on this DSL connection.
But it was also healthy to start undoing some of the shackles imposed by said connection. Like a knee-jerk connection, I found myself heading towards the missing laptop to check the inbox, chiming like a phantom limb. Stop, turn around, pick up a book. I did a lot of reading, reveled in the delicious synergy that inevitably is born of reading several books concurrently. Most of the books were of the garden variety, literally, and I spent many a morning curled up with Richo Cech’s Growing Medicinal Herbs. Eliot Coleman fared heavily into the mix as well, with both Four-Season Harvest and The New Organic Grower. The caffeine-inspired neurons began firing at double speed, making all kinds of mental leaps and growing plans not bound by physical or time constraints. This is dangerous. Keeping company with the likes of these folks (also, Joel Salatin) while riding the exhilarating roller-coaster of morning coffee invites all kinds of consequences, in the same way that alcohol-induced shenanigans lead to babies. We’ll see what spawns here in nine months. (definitely NOT babies)
Caffeine-euphoria aside, the unplugged week hurt like hell. It made me cranky, then angry, then weepy, then (insert any unpleasant emotions here). The repercussions of putting all of our productivity eggs in one basket (laptop) were astounding. And unacceptable. We needed some redundancy. And just when I thought I might die from the digital estrangement, a hero on horseback swooped in with an iPad. Ah, sweet relief. I tore open the package, ready to devour my first sip of delicious technological sustenance in over a week, turned it on, and was greeted by the instructions to connect it to iTunes. On the laptop.
But here I am, hopefully better for the wear, trying not to gorge myself, lest I get a nasty case of digital gout. I hope you’re still here.