Last Sunday night, our Internet service went out.
Two of the four green lights on the modem stopped blinking and Time Warner’s customer service line offered nothing more than a canned message saying “There’s a service outage in your area. Technicians are working on it. Service will be restored as soon as possible. Our live operators have no further information.”
Frankly, I was stoked.
Though many of my friends and colleagues have taken vows to go Internet-free at least one day a week (for Michelle, it’s Sunday; for Eva, it’s Wednesday), I’ve found it hard to follow their lead. As a mom, I have to work when I can, and baby naps–regardless of the day–are precious writing time. Perhaps the even greater obstacle, though, is the fact that our computer occupies a significant space in our living room, which is the center of our home. We don’t have an office or separate space where the computer can be set up, so on a midnight trip to the bathroom, there’s that catatonic glow that seems to beckon, saying “You know there’s something important going on here.”
So when the Internet went down, I was actually relieved. It would be restored (the next day, I thought naively) and in the meantime, I could do all the things I put off when I’m working online. I read the entire introduction of the cookbook My Sweet Mexico, and then made churros with our neighbor, followed by “convent cookies.” I took a nap. I laid in bed and read The Savage Detectives. I went for a long walk. I helped cook dinner. I played with Mariel on the floor. We danced and laughed and eventually stopped looking for the other two blinking lights to come back on. At some point, I actually thought to myself, “It’s easy enough to think that nothing important is happening online right now.”
It was divine.
36 hours later, the Internet wasn’t back up. I started to get antsy- all of my work is transacted online- and so I asked the neighbor if I could pilfer her connection. Nothing truly important had happened in the time I’d been offline. Though there’s no way we can move the computer, there is a simple solution for reclaiming some of my time: Turn it off.