For one day offline, he’s an Analog Oaf
From our daily naps to our midnight runs to Taco Bell, Digital Slobs are creatures of habit. Highly forgetful, we'd lose our heads if we didn't put them right next to our keys and iPods every night after we unscrewed them.
Therefore, if we're asked to change our routines, the more notice the better. So I'm glad I found out about Shutdown Day -- a global effort to turn off computers on March 24 -- a month ahead, because it gave me time for a short self-test (just like the SATs and my first three full-time jobs).
Recently, I tried to see how long I could last offline, and kept a journal. Here are some excerpts:
8 a.m.: I rise and instinctively migrate to check e-mail but see a Post-it on my monitor yelling "NO!" in red letters, reminding me of the day's experiment. A noncomputerized world unfolds. I hear birds sing, see the sun shine and faintly smell my neighbor's bacon-rich breakfast. Also, it now seems my wife has blond hair. Apparently, it's been that way since November.
8:35 a.m.: I don't have to work today, but my wife does. To punish me for this, I'm given a verbal "honey-do" list that doesn't stop until my posture proves I'm now as depressed about my day as she is about hers. The moment she leaves, I curl back up in bed to recover from the onslaught.
11:30 a.m.: Longhand is tough. I'm having trouble reading my own handwriting. This night be hater then it tooks. Posh orange subordinate. Uialsk alk phenom.
12 p.m.: I wash a load of whites and a bedspread while watching Oprah single-handedly solve all of Africa's problems. Sure, I suppose anything IS possible, Oprah, if you don't have to do your own laundry.
1:45 p.m.: I drive past a CompUSA, and the urge to check e-mail almost overcomes me. I should've gotten a sponsor before I tried this experiment cold turkey. Turkey. Ooh, it's lunchtime. I replace one addiction with another. I go home full yet somehow still empty inside.
5:30 p.m.: Without the Net, I watch "NBC Nightly News" from beginning to end. Anchor Brian Williams interviews his own dad about assisted-living for aging parents. I did that once. I interviewed my mom in third grade. I got an A+. Do you think Brian's dad has a VHS tape of the segment on his refrigerator door?
Should we be forced to know our TV anchors this well? Did Walter Cronkite even have a dad? Without wikipedia.org, there's no way to know for sure.
I hate Brian Williams -- a seething, all-consuming hate. This day is his fault. No, wait. He's actually cool. Guess being off the grid is messing with my head. Note to self: Look up "bipolar" on wikipedia.org tomorrow as well.