I went to bed early last night, because Doug had to wake up at 3:30 for work, and I’m always up for going to bed early.  This, of course, resulted in me being wide awake at 7 a.m., an hour before my alarm was set to go off.*

Sure, I thought about getting up, thought about all the things I could get done this morning before I’m supposed to go on an errand with a friend.  But then I realized: as soon as I rolled over, I was going to grab my phone and text that friend to see what time she wanted to meet; as soon as I physically got out of my bed, I was going to walk in here, sit down at the computer, and cross my fingers for some good emails/facebook posts/blogs to read.

And that all sounded totally unappealing.  Yet unavoidable.  When was the last time I woke up and didn’t immediately check my phone or computer?  (Probably the last time I woke up late and had to rush to get out the door.)  Apparently, I physically can’t go ten hours without communication with the outside world.  Doug does the same thing, although he usually opts for sports news or online games.  It’s like there’s this magnetic pull to technology, and so for the first hour or two of our day, we might as well not even be in the same apartment.  Same thing happens when we come home from work, or from anywhere really.  Straight to the computers.

And this morning, as I lie there fighting my awake-ness, I realized: I don’t like it.

Maybe my desire to be a housewife is really just a facet of a larger yearning for a simpler time.  (I have always firmly believed I should have grown up in the 50s.)  Remember the days before the internet?  I do.  I even remember the days before my house had a Nintendo.  Shit, I remember when I used to have all my friends’ phone numbers memorized.

But, like in all other aspects of my life, it’s not enough to just want to go back: my bank is online, my main form of communicating with my parents is via text, and then there’s this writing project I’m doing (you might have heard of it)…  It appears I am stuck here, in the year 2011.

What I would like to do, however, is self-impose a blackout.  Maybe for a day, or maybe – if I’m feeling daring – for as long as a week.  No TV, no computer, no phone.  I’d either have to make an exception to write (but that’s a slippery slope), or wait until after April, when I’ll no longer be obligating myself to write every day; I’m not sure on the details.  Then again, there was one year when Doug and I resolved to have a weekly “Tuesday night quiet time” – similar idea with everything turned off, just one evening a week, in order for us to check in, read, play games, and actually be together in the space we cohabit.  It didn’t last very many weeks, so maybe it’d be best to start small and try something like that again.

This morning, I lay in bed for almost that full extra hour, just letting myself float there, even though I was wide awake.  Then I did this kicking exercise my therapist taught me,** to build up my energy stores for the day.  Then I got up and walked immediately over to my computer.

As I was reading through facebook, I saw the following post from a yogi friend of mine:

I never really thought about it, but did you ever consider technology to be dehydrating? I feel dehydrated just thinking about it.

That’s it.  It’s a beautiful day, and I am going for a walk.

…and I am bringing my ipod.

*Don’t judge me for planning for a 10-hour night.  I work shift work, and it’s my day off.  I get my sleep when I can.

**Lay flat on your back on a bed or other soft surface.  Lift one leg straight up as high as comfortable, then drop it back onto the bed.  Repeat on the other side.  Do this a total of 100 times (50 on each leg), and, in the words of my therapist, “See what comes up.”  It can be rhythmic/calming, or a good release of aggression – and is meant to build up useful energy in your body.  Supposedly, if there is one bioenergetic exercise you should do daily, it’s this one.  I do not do it daily; as of this morning, I have now done it twice.

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14 Responses to Blackout

  1. Jason says:

    You could go “off the grid” for a week and still fulfill your writing requirements. Remember that stuff called paper? You could write on it with one of those old fashioned pen things and then, at the end of the week, just type it into the computer where it belongs. I think we, your faithful readers, could survive a week of waiting and catch up afterwards.

    Remember, this project is about you, and if going simple for a few days will help you, then do it. You rule the project, it doesn’t rule you.

  2. Christina says:

    I’ve tried to go off the grid. We went out of town for 3.5 whole days and vowed to disconnect. I lasted about 4 hours and it was physically painful.

  3. slcurwin says:

    Just drop the leg limp or pulling your leg back down? This sounds like a version of a kids temper tantrum and I like it.
    Then this makes me think of falling backwards off the arm of the couch (on to the couch) and that feeling of butterflies in my stomach, and the fun bounce when you hit. ah yes.

    • Marie says:

      Something in between. The idea is to kick (with force), but keep the leg straight. And it very much resembles a temper tantrum, just with no arms and fewer tears.

  4. Shannon says:

    I can NOT get out of bed in the morning without looking at my phone to check my email and Facebook – and I find myself pulling out my phone at stoplights and on elevators, too. It’s impossible to escape!

    You’ve inspired me, though. Next week, I’m going to see if I can actually get up, get ready for work and make it to the office without checking my email until I’ve sat down at my desk. I *think* I can do it!

    • Marie says:

      I purposefully didn’t get a smart phone (and I JUST upgraded) to avoid this exact obsession. At least I can feel human out in the world, if I can’t seem to tear myself away from the computer while at home.

      Good luck!

  5. Aisha says:

    Here from ICLW.

    Lovely post on a topic I’m thinking about a lot lately.

    I read this article recently you might like: Anne Lamott basically talks about how its important to disconnect to pursue creative goals. I hate my connectivity- how I feel like I can’t go without it. Its soething I too am determined to undo.

  6. slcurwin says:

    I think I’ll have to try this when no one is looking (especially my hubby)

  7. jjiraffe says:

    Here from ICLW. I heard on NPR that there’s a big trend for big writers right now (like Michael Chabon, and others I can’t remember) to go to a retreat (basically a log cabin) for a few months where phone contact is allowed, but only landline and no cell or Internet connection is available. Clearly all this online junk blocks our creative juices?

  8. chhandita says:

    I deleted my FB account because I needed get away from it all. I switch off my mobile, and keep my laptop out of reach for a day a week at least. I NEED that break so I can totally understand what you mean.


  9. bodegabliss says:

    Um, are 10-hour nights not normal? That’s what I aim for every night. No judging here! 🙂

  10. Pingback: The joy of falling « Holy Crap! You can't talk about miscarriage!

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