Sunday, April 5, 2009

Do I have a Web addiction?

I was sitting quietly, reading a book, and enjoying it immensely. Or so I thought. My laptop is always near at hand, and I felt as if it was calling out, "Open me! C'mon, let's get on line!"

This is hyperbole, of course, but there was a pull, and it was strong. I closed my book, put it down, and as I was lifting the laptop up, I asked myself just what it was that I was thinking. I was thinking, "Remember how nice it was, a few months ago, when you didn't look at a computer for ten days" Well, those ten days were spent in the company of other people, and besides, there was no internet access. Okay, there was internet access, but I would have had to leave our hotel room and go sit in a bar by myself. What kind of resort was this, anyway? It's 2009!

I'm glad for that, really. As I said, it was nice not being online all the time. Sure, I missed it as first, but after a while I did not, and it was wonderful actually having a conversation with someone in person. If I had a thought, I didn't grab my laptop to blog about it. I either kept it to myself or had a real live chat. And the desire to look up every single factoid that I couldn't put my finger on started to recede after a few days.

Well, that was a few months ago. These days are different.

I live in the middle of nowhere. There's no public space, no walks along the avenues, and a walk along the road would bring me nothing but mud up to my knees and near-misses with trucks. There's the woods, of course, but I'm writing about being with others (though you may have thought this was about Web addiction), not my love of the outdoors. Hah, now that I think of it, I had promised my Aunt that I'd take a look at the "eagle-cam." Now, I don't need to walk outside to see anything. That's a scary thought.

There is a connection between what I'm starting to see as a case of addiction to getting on line and my isolation. Of course there is. I'm glad for the internet, very glad, but I sometimes wonder if I'd have moved far from this isolating place if I didn't have the damned Web. It's certainly possible. I have the illusion of being with others. Facebook, which I've recently joined, has provided me with chats and silly quizzes and all sorts of total nonsense that I've been enjoying. The fact that I like this stuff bothers me. What has happened to my reading, my knitting, and my meditation? Little by little, my computer life has taken over. I do my schoolwork online, most of my socializing online, and now, most of my reading online. No, the computer won't knit for me (though it could, I'm sure) and it can't go to the bathroom for me (and I hope it never does).

I put that book down because I had a desire to converse with someone, and for me, writing this blog is a conversation. I normally don't think much to myself, as odd as that sounds, so putting fingers to keyboard (as once did "putting pen to paper") gets the thoughts rolling.

Odd, how meditation has slowed my thoughts down to a crawl, or to near nothing. I often wonder if that is indeed okay, or even normal, but it's of no matter. I am happier this way. A racing mind is one that serves me no good. It's racing a bit tonight, as you can probably tell, for I'm having trouble sticking to the topic (addiction). I just want to ramble.

It's a substitute for conversation, as I have already written. This life is not good for me. It may be good for my writing, but it's good for nothing else. No, I take that back. It's good for introspection, and for facing my demons, which are mostly at bay. But, when that's over, what's left? I have come to discover I am a social creature, and living in the countryside no longer suits me. The company of others - well, I crave it.

I could go to the General Store, but ever since they put up (and took down) the Obama with Hitler mustache photograph I'm wary of entering. My neighbors are no longer home much. My friends are scattered far and wide.

Please don't mistake this for me posting about how sorry I feel for myself. It's not that. I'm just trying to unravel just why and how I've come to this, this siamese twin relationship I have with my laptop. Until tonight, I really didn't understand what was happening. And the thing of it is, I'm not going to do anything with this realization. What can I do? Up and leave?

Well, that's too big a kettle of fish to fry, or boil, or whatever one does with that cliche. And with that, I end this post, this mess of a post, and I'll probably log onto Facebook, or check my e-mail, or find someone to chat with, or, perhaps, I'll go to sleep. Last night, I stayed up until 4:00am surfing the Web. It did my health no good.

I'll stop now.

Painting note: "Luncheon of the Boating Party", Renoir, 1880-81
I find this painting a bit garish, but I could use a bit of that kind of living.


TMC said...

I sort of struggle with this too. Been trying to find a balance without giving up altogether. I think the arrival of warm weather might encourage us to get out more. Sometimes it might just come down to old fashioned self-discipline (something I totally suck at but aspire to). Anyway, I wouldn't know you if it weren't for the interwebz so it can't be all bad. :)

Julie H. Rose said...

As they say (whoever they are): Moderation in everything.

I'm glad I found you on the Web, too.

Anonymous said...

Julie, I was struggling with the very same thing today.
My mind is racing, but it's like spinning wheels, it's not racing to get me anywhere. It's like a little demon that needs to be fed. I notice that this Web pull looses it's intensity whenever I get my fill of socializing with "real people" in real life. So maybe we're just trying to fill a hole, a gap, a niche, whatever you call it.
On the other hand, TMC is right, we do form a real connection to people we never met. Without the Internets, it's highly likely I'd never meet you. And that would be tragic.