My Tech-Free Day

Daily Foglifter:  People spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook.

I did it.  24 hours with absolutely no computer use.  It was harder than I thought it would be.  Normally, I do my “computer stuff” when I have my morning coffee.  That’s usually when I check e-mail and Facebook or play a couple of games on  Since I usually write my blog late the night before I’m ready to post it, this is also a good time to read it over and make sure I didn’t make any major spelling or grammatical errors to make sure that what I wrote at 1:00 in the morning made any sense and wouldn’t unnecessarily offend or embarrass anyone.  Yesterday, it was me , my coffee, and maddening morning news shows.  My Lord, those people are entirely too perky in the morning!

I got a lot done, but not as much as I wanted.  There was no piano playing yesterday.  There was a considerable amount of cleaning, but the house isn’t sparkling this morning.  I blame that on tech support (again).  I spent a little over an hour on the phone, in three-minute increments in which time I was placed on hold so the very nice and pleasant man I talked to “updated his system.”  It ended with agreeing to a new cell phone number.  I figured the hassle of telling everyone our new number paled in comparison to the nightmare that is customer support.  Once I agreed to this, it took approximately a minute and a half to get the dumb cell phone working.  I don’t know why, but there it is.

The main reason my house isn’t clean is because I have a 16-month-old daughter whose new obsessions include emptying the trash can on the floor, the DVDs and books off the shelves, and seeking out any cosmetics, cups, or boxes that happen to be within her ever-expanding grasp and emptying the contents on the floor.  I don’t know what makes toddlers want to “empty” things.  She takes all the utensils out of the kitchen drawers, her clothes out of her dresser, and the baby wipes out of the container.  I couldn’t get one mess cleaned up before she was making another one.  When she threw the freshly folded laundry on the floor, I decided it was nap time.  I sat down to rock her and she fell asleep pretty quickly.  Unfortunately, so did I.

I did get some reading done yesterday.  I have not read in over a week and that is very unusual for me.  I think it had more to do with what I was trying to read than any computer activity.  I’m still working on The Modern Library’s Top 100 Novels of the Twentieth Century and Radcliffe’s List as well.  I’ve read some really good books from both these lists, but there have been some tedious, boring (Invisible Man), and just plain nonsensical books as well.  (The Unbearable Lightness of Being is one of the most self-indulgent and awful books I have ever read.)  The current book was “White Fang.”  It’s not terrible, but it’s just not for me.  I put it aside and started reading some Percy Jackson, at my son’s request, and something I wanted to read.  The lists aren’t going anywhere and I don’t have a set date of completion anyway.

My time away from the computer had its drawbacks.  When I checked my e-mail today I had 48 messages in my inbox and 78 in my spam folder.  I have to at least look at the spam contents because sometimes mass mailings from the kids’ schools gets sent there.  I wanted to make a phone call yesterday and instead of just looking up the number on-line I had to look through two phone books.  The phone books here are awful.  Every town has its own phone book and nothing is listed where it logically should be.

I will not be taking any more computer holidays.  It’s too late to go back to the pre-Internet days for me.  I have too many balls up in the air, and the internet is the easiest way to manage the chaos.  It’ easier to order things from Amazon than to go to a million different stores.  It’s easier to set up appointments and correspond with the kids’ teachers via e-mail.  It’s easier to stay in contact with friends and family back home through Facebook.  Like anything else, I have to be aware of the amount of time I spend using it and adjust accordingly.  After yesterday, I have decided to set a time aside for Facebook, instead of compulsively checking it every hour or so.  Twice a day is sufficient.  The e-mail I still check since that’s how Chris and I communicate while he’s at work.  How else will I know to get him soap at the grocery store or what he thinks we should have for dinner since I’ve run out of ideas after 12 years of marriage, which is approximately 4,380 menu decisions?

I challenge you to take one full day away from your computer.  I’d be interested in hearing what you missed most or were able to accomplish with the extra time.

Day, n. A period of twenty-four hours, mostly misspent.
Ambrose Bierce,