Cold Turkey

Let’s get serious, by which I mean: completely frivolous, and whatever the adjective form of navel-gazing (navel-gazingish?) is.

Due to a combination of moving into the city and an array of screw-ups on the part of Comcast (about which the less said, the better, unless you’re really interested in a lot of over the top vulgarity and spit-on-my-monitor anger), I spent all weekend without internet. I didn’t even watch the Oscars. The only reason I’ve got a connection right now is because I went down the street to the wonderful little neighborhood coffee shop, without which, I would sitting on a downtown street corner, laptop in hand, with a sign that says, Will Work (or Blog) for Wi-Fi.

The experience, though, is strangely cleansing. Like most people who spend all day in front of a computer, I am hopelessly addicted to news and blogs. As many people have discovered, there’s something strangely compelling, in a narrative sense, about regular updates on your favorite news stories or from your favorite online commentators. Let me put it like this: I don’t watch soap operas, but I do read Matt Yglesias and The Corner—along with about a zillion other blogs and magazines.

But going without them, even for a relatively short period, is somewhat frightening. My mind starts to think about them, to wonder about what’s being written where and by whom—and there’s nothing there. I imagine it’s sort of like when one loses a limb and gets phantom itches (except not completely traumatic, and, obviously, entirely trivial in comparison). But then after a while, it’s suddenly not so bad. The mind is cleared; it begins to focus on other things, begins to center itself. Thoughts seem clearer, deeper, like I (perhaps nostalgically) recall them being before I had the internet.

I could say more, but the café is closing, and I’m about to return to my strange, almost Zen-like, blog-free existence.