It’s official. I’m not a country girl. Eight days buried in rural Cedar, Michigan, without access to high speed Internet, was just too much for my online-dependent self to bear.
I’m not sure how my twin sister and I shared a womb: she is a gourmet chef, I can’t boil water; she fetches her eggs from the chickens in her front yard, I make Eric drive to our supermarket because even that task stresses me out.
I suppose it’s time to turn myself in to yet another support group—for those online junkies who can’t vacation without access to the cyber world.
Mistake number one: In an experiment to see just how many Diggs you need to end up on page one or two or 54 of Digg.com, I e-mailed 100 of my closest friends to tell them to Digg my Depression Busters (if you want to, go ahead and click here and press Digg, and then set up an account if you don’t have one). This message entered the digital highway an hour before I left for the airport. Bad timing for a person with OCD.
I pulled out my laptop (which I told myself I would absolutely positively not bring) at Baltimore’s airport (that’s my airport, meaning I hadn’t even boarded the plane yet).
“Shoot, Internet access costs $9.99. Can we do it?” I asked Eric.
“Are you serious? That’s a rip off. That’s a buck per Digg.”
Back in the bag goes the laptop.
Until I hit Detroit.
“It’s worth it!” I tried to convince Eric, who accused me of my online addiction way back before I pledged to unplug during a week of vacation. “We have three hours to ride the aiport train back and forth and stare at this cool fountain.”
Two minutes later the kids were all over the computer, using it as a DVD player to watch “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles“—remember those flicks? Yuck.
A few hours later we arrive to the country. I can barely stand it. It’s been seven hours since I’ve connected to anyone online. So at the first available moment, I asked my twin sister to PLEASE direct me to the Internet in her lovely home situated on 12 acres of gorgeous countryside between a cherry grove and a white grape vineyard.
It’s dial up. IT’S DIAL UP! IT’S DIAL UP!
Checking my e-mails and Beyond Blue messages (which I’m more addicted to reading than any of you dear readers, trust me!) took maybe seven times the amount of time than my high-tech DSL connection back home.
Which meant what?
Like I do all the time at home (my office is right next to the frig … not good, I know): “No really, sit still, I’ll get the milk …” (quick peak), “Sippy cup? I’ll get it” (another peak).
All summer I told myself it was okay to push, push, push, because I would take the week at my sister’s to decompress from it all, that I would disconnect from the Internet and try to find myself or center myself or yada yada yada: you know, become more spiritual.
As the week of vacation approached, my head was full of the same negotiations (or rationalizations) that happen during Lent (when I was supposed to have given up chocolate, but you get a dispensation for Sundays, right? So let’s just take that dispensation and stretch it from Friday night to Monday morning, especially given the Saturday’s dispensation that I didn’t use!).
By Saturday morning (before we left for the airport), I committed to checking my e-mail once a day. Tops.
By Sunday, it was twice.
On Monday I was up to five times. That evening my sister was entertaining some friends. I conversed with her guests, but I was tormented knowing that the “Your Peace of Mind” newsletter had been sent about 4:00 that day, as I was dying to know which Beyond Blue post was included in it (I’m featured on Mondays and Thursdays if you haven’t noticed). Plus I wondered if Depression Busters had been Dugg again.
So I tried to discreetly slide inside her house, using the excuse that I was going to grab a fancy fruit juice drink she bought for me (since I don’t drink).
“What are you doing?” my sister asked me two minutes later, when she caught me at the computer.
“Just checking in with my peeps. Seeing how they’re doing. Don’t tell Eric I’m on the computer. He already thinks I’m obsessed,” I said.
Damn it. I was busted. I hate this dial up connection! I thought to myself. But come on, I’m not smoking crack. Beyond Blue is a good addiction, no?
The next afternoon my sisters and I were browsing inside a children’s shop in Leland. I overheard a woman asking the manager about WiFi.
“Look at all the puzzles!” my sister said, pointing to three shelves of boxes, holding everything from 60-piece SpiderMans to 1000-piece Tyrannosauruses.
“Shhhh,” I said. “She’s asking about WiFi! It might be near.”
“You are so addicted,” she replied. “You don’t care about any shops that don’t have WiFi, do you?”
Earlier that morning we drove past a coffee shop with “Free WiFi” written on its window.
“WiFi!!!” I shouted. “It’s free! Stop!” My face was pressed up against the window, and I salivated like my dogs do right before I give them steak.
“WiFi. WiFi. Wifi,” my sister imitated me mockingly.
I pleaded guilty.
I could not decompress.
Not in the vines. Or among the pines.
Not with a fox, or among the rocks.
Not in the rain, or on a train.
Not with jam. Or with my fam.
I even read spam!
I love my Internet, Therese I am.