Monday, October 5, 2009

A terrible idea

I've spent the past two hours online, googling.

"a year without internet"
"the year without internet"
"quitting internet"
"quitting internet for a year"
"blog about giving up the internet"

And so on. So far, nothing. Either no one has done this, or if they have, they haven't blogged about it. And by "doing this," I don't mean simply quitting the internet. I'm sure tons of people have done that. Shifted priorities from a technoladen existence to a lithe, supple and wifi-free way of life. From Mormons on their missions to the Peruvian Amazon to people who hike the Himalayas to raise funds for breast cancer to "29-year old" mothers of four on detox retreats at Canyon Ranch, brave and selfless individuals the world over have sacrificed internet access for greater goals.

By "doing this," I mean the totally self-absorbed and enchanting idea of undertaking a meaningless project for a year. Simply because you've never done it before, it's never been done before, you fancy yourself a blogger, and you think Oprah really will pay attention, this time. (By the way, feel free to check out my old blog. And if you're joining me from there, thanks a ton for sticking around!)

The truth is that such an endeavor wouldn't be just for kicks. Or even publicity. Believe me. (Actually, you probably shouldn't. The last time someone believed me, they ended up at my house, plastered and listening to Ave Maria. Don't ask.) But I do spend a lot of time online. I often wonder what I else could be doing. I used to write -- poetry, short fiction. I used to take dance lessons, play sports. Currently I am sitting in front of screen, reading and writing about sitting in front of a screen. And I'm not even an existentialist Italian playwright.

What I've found out about internet addictions, in my google quest:

"46 percent of women and 30 percent of men would opt to forgo sex for two weeks rather than give up access to their precious Internet for the same period." (From this NYT report about a study put out by Intel.)

Lots of people resolve to "quit the internet" on New Year's Day. Few succeed.

For 1800 surveyed Hong Kong teenagers, life without internet not worth living. (See this story)

Even American homeless people are hooked, according to this WSJ article.

What else I've found out:

The idea of a year without internet terrifies me. And maybe that's exactly why I need to do it.

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