Well I'm back now, hope you didn't miss me too much, I went on an internet fast, I starved myself of the web for seventeen whole days and I gotta say it is one of the best things I have ever done. I admit it was tough at first. Not knowing what my friends were having for lunch or seeing the latest funny Tweep from Elvis Brockman, it was hard to get out of bed in the morning and even harder to figure out what to do at 2:34 pm when I would normally be checking my Twongle or searching for funny animal pics on Bigglebanger dot com.
Boy do I feel refreshed. My thinking is just so much clearer. Like before I was upset because I didn’t instinctively know which brand of jeans to wear and now that I took a step back I see that my whole wardrobe was just ridiculous, but I was so focused on doodling with my Twoodle I didn't have time to notice, so I threw out most of it and made the long-overdue switch to spandex and so far I look – and feel – terrific. Who knew I had this smokin bod?
And it wasn't just the clarity of thought, it was the things I would think about, questioning why I was doing some stuff but not other stuff, thinking about why I wasn’t thinking about things I wasn't even thinking about. It was something to think about but unfortunately impossible to capture in words, you’ve either been there or you haven't.
It was great fun to go to the library and just wander around, take random books down from the shelves, read them as long as they held my interest, then when I felt bored just click on another book and – oh dear, would you listen to me now. It was somewhat less intense than web surfing, certainly less convenient, ad-free but dustier, though somehow it felt better for you, if that makes any sense. I was heartened to know that these places called public libraries still exist and that I can go there any Tuesday between four and seven pm or Saturdays between noon and three to look at microfiche of old newspapers that aren’t on Google live yet.
During the fast I was able to read seven whole books plus work on my quilt commemorating Season 3 of Delocated and start to learn how to play the zither. I also got my dog-squatting license, brushed up on my sex-talk chops, and made the most amazing Carpathian goat's hip soufflé from a recipe I totally invented all by myself. I can't wait to apply my new skillsets the next time I am invited to a dinner party or stranded at sea with a zither.
It's amazing what you can get done when you sit around reading magazines until you're bored out of your effin skull and then guzzle two iced macchachinos. I cleaned shit I didn't even know I had, I think some of it was my neighbor's. I completely re-organized my predilections. I went through all my old photographs and tax returns, I found this one sticker I’ve been saving since seventh grade, of course I'll never stick it on anything now and I'll never throw it away either, but it was amazing to find it and look at it for a minute before putting it back in the box for another six years, anyway that's a blogpost for another day.
Is it ironic writing about my internet fast for surfchannel dot net? I don't think so, but then after seventeen days without irony I'm not so sure any more. I think I can offer an important perspective to everybody sitting around stuck on the internet 14 hours a day. Let them know that by going off-line once in a while you can be just as bored without the achy eyes and gnawing uneasiness. And that boredom is good for you: it can make even meaningless internet essays like this seem interesting by comparison.