Posted by: Sue D. Gelber | September 29, 2012

My ‘Net-Free Summer

Well, that was a nice little break.

You may have noticed this blog was quiet lately. No, I didn’t spend the whole summer sleeping late and lounging around in my pajamas. I was still doing stuff. I was just doing it all off-line.

I didn’t plan to have a tech-free summer, but I was tired of my kids always being tied to some kind of electronic device. I didn’t want to spend my summer looking at the tops of their heads while they were hunched over keyboards. So I decided they should have a break from all things electronic. It seemed like a good idea – no competing for their attention with computers, phones, and ipads. More family bonding! Quality time! Actual conversation using complete sentences! What’s not to love?

Alas, those cheeky little munchkins pointed out that I shouldn’t be on my computer, either. Fair play and all.

What? Me offline? No Twitter? No blogging? No stalking people by their FourSquare checkins? No reading on Facebook that Morgan Freeman has died, only to discover via Google that he’s quite alive?

Worst of all, no YouTube cat videos?

I thought I might not survive.

Fortunately, I cheated. Not a lot, but I was able to sneak on my phone early in the morning, before the kids were even awake. I’d do a quick check of Facebook, sometimes Twitter, just so I could keep up on the truly essential things, like the latest parody video of Call Me Maybe.

So what did I learn during my low-tech summer? That I probably waste a lot of time online and that life without the internet isn’t so bad after all. Sure, there were some moments when I missed the instant-updates available online. For example, it took over 24-hours for me to hear about the death of that guy who played Horshack on Welcome Back Kotter. But I discovered these things called newspapers that give you information about stuff that happened the day before, in a really condensed, easy-to-read form. Granted, the info was a little dated but it seemed mostly accurate. Kind of like Wikipedia.

What I missed most, however, were my online pals, particularly my running friends. I missed the feeling of being connected to people who shared the same interests, even if they were miles away. I missed hearing about people’s races. And of course I missed all the links to stupid videos.

I also missed the productivity that eventually comes from sitting in front of a computer. Other than my weekly Patch column, which I still composed online, I didn’t get much writing done. I bought myself a notebook and pen so I could write the old-fashioned way. Alas, all I managed to do was jot some notes about my summer activities. As a result, I have pages of random scribbles to transcribe. My net-free summer has resulted in a rather daunting “to-do” list. Now that September is creeping past, I guess I’d better get working on it, before summer is forgotten.

But in the meantime, if you’ll excuse me, I’m still trying to catch up on all those cat videos on YouTube.


  1. This sounds miserable. I’m glad I never have to have a disconnected summer. Or any other season. Glad you made it through it OK.

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