Monday, June 7, 2010
How Can You Miss Me If I Never Go Away?
We left with an overflowing box and our collective wallets only $15 lighter and for a good cause. We snagged things ranging from a paperback copy of Junot Diaz's The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao to the Cliff Notes of The Tempest. We plucked several classics from the tables holding all those glorious books. Shakespeare, Edith Wharton, more Jane Austen, Sartre, DeMaurier (can you believe I've never read Rebecca?), Tom Robbins, Steinbeck, Katherine Anne Porter, Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking, Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway, Uncle Tom's Cabin, some Agatha Christie, The Portable Hawthorne (with which to torture MathMan) and a mess of southern literature.
Chloe has a southern lit class next semester. She's been reading Eudora Welty already this summer. And she's almost as big a fan of William Faulkner as I am. Did I ever tell you that during our first year of marriage, MathMan and I were still in school? I had to read several Faulkner short stories and moaned incessantly the entire time. It got so bad that MathMan suggested I drop the class and pick up a nice Calculus class instead. At least then he could help me. And with those words began our first "domestic incident" involving crockery and footwear.
So in addition to the pile of books I've borrowed from the library (two Dorothy Sayers mysteries, some kid lit and some teen lit), I've now got an even larger pile of my own books to read. Add to those the few left over from last year's book sale that I never got around to reading and well.....
Time. I need more of it. I tried to devise a time machine, but got stabby and gave up after I electrocuted myself for the third time. Maybe a change in habits would free up some of my time.
"I wonder what would happen if I disconnected from the world for thirty days and just read and wrote."
What in the hell compels me to say such things out loud and to MathMan? Instead of seeing this as a cry for help or attention, he saw it as a good thing. "I think you should give it a try." It was an evil grin spreading across his face, I don't care what he says in any future deposition.
I spent the next hour and a half wondering what his ulterior motive could be for wanting me away from the computer and especially the internets. We did just recently purchase that life insurance policy for me.
I immediately started backpedaling. "Oh, well, I mean, I'd still have to blog a couple of times a week. And check the jobs worksite at least once a day. And my email. Lots of people get in touch with me that way." By the time I'd finished, I'd concluded that what would be best would be if I simply put myself on a social media diet - 30 minutes a day for Twitter and Facebook. Because it's on those two sites that I waste the most time. I can sit down at 1:14 p.m. and next thing I know the cats are parading around my office carrying their food bowls in their tiny mouths and I have no idea where my family is as I gaze into the dark night.
And then I wonder, could I do it? Am I capable of going offline for thirty days? It's rather like forsaking sugar for this addict. I might be able to do it if I know I have one day off per week. In this case, though, it would be one day on.
Even the New York Times thinks it might be a good idea. Not just for me, of course, but for all of us. I hate you, NY Times.
I spent much of this weekend rolling the idea around in my noggin. The kids are incredulous, MathMan is encouraging bordering on nagging, the cats are disdainful. As usual. The new friend I met at the Ross Diner lunch counter thought it would be a great idea especially if I meant I came to town and had lunch with him a few days a week.
I'm certain that I will require sedatives by Thursday.
But I'm going to do it. I'm going to close my Twitter window and swear off Tweetdeck, turn off the sm - esses. I'll have to figure out how to check the jobs websites and my email without straying, but it's not that difficult.
I think it's an experiment worth trying. I want to read these books. I want to write. I know for a fact that when I have access to social networking open on my computer, my ability to focus suffers.
And yes, yes, we've been through this before - best laid plans and all that. But this time I'm making my serious face. That's the difference right there. The serious face.
Thirty days. One day online per week to check in with you guys and my tweeting friends and Facebook. I'll blog on Sundays. I'll cry and throw things and chew holes through pillows the rest of the days of the week.
I know most of you have more self-control than I do so it's not such a big deal, but do you think you could do it? Could you go thirty days offline? Could you go six days at a stretch like I'm going to do? And if you did, what would you do with that time?
See you Sunday,