It’s not often I’m faced with an overwhelming epiphany while laying on the floor, but I guess that’s as good a place for epiphanies as anywhere else. This particular floor was different from the one I usually lay on. For one, it was in a different house. And two, this floor was not surrounded by a house with internet. I didn’t get internet until I was almost through with high school. Until then, I would trek to a laundromat and abuse their free wireless to watch youtube and download movies. Things have changed since then. I’ve changed.
I used to read books. Whole books! And I’d do it while there were other things to do around me. I’d turn my nose at the chance to hang out with friends because I’d rather kick it with the fellowship of the ring. I remember telling the people to whom I was closest that I couldn’t go to one of their rad high school parties because I “had homework.” The reality was that I had just discovered a new author I loved and needed to power through every single word they’d ever written. I didn’t need internet; I had books.
I’ve been changed by the internet. I like instant gratification and pictures now. I’ve infantilized myself by immersing my entire existence in quick punchlines and inside jokes in which there are millions of people on the inside and the people on the outside don’t care. And I crave it when it is denied to me.
However, being away from the internet, or at least far enough that I couldn’t blog but could still check my email, has taught me something I knew before. I’m pretty boring. There’s a reason people are inclined to distract themselves from their own heads: it’s awful locked up in there. Why would I want to stay trapped in myself when there are funny pictures of cats to look at. Why would I want to lend my imagination to engage with a vibrant world articulated by a master author when I could just lay back and let entertainment drown me. At least, that’s what my impulses tell me. I don’t like that they’re doing that. I miss neglecting my friends to do something I could feel smug about later. I’d much rather ignore my students’ emails to read something than to watch 45 minutes of horror movie shorts on Youtube.
In short, I’ve become lazy and somewhat boring because the internet is so alive and exciting, and being trapped in my head is a nightmare comparable to being locked in a DMV with every person who would normally be at a Walmart after midnight. I think I should read more and be online less. Probably.