10 Things That Are Great About Life Off The Internet

Oh, hello, Frisky readers! I’m back! I just spent a week in Oregon with my new spouse. Both my personal and work computers were jacked up, and Michael forgot to bring the charger for his computer, so it was smartphone-only for us, internet-wise, and the vast majority of our data wound up being used by Google Maps.

I went a whole week without the news, without the full access to a web browser that I prefer over my iPhone browser and that enables me to get sucked into Internet k-holes. I learned days after the fact that Congress had voted to defund Planned Parenthood and that the second GOP debate even happened. I had no idea the Emmys were last night! It was great. Let me expound upon all the reasons why not being on a computer for a week was joy-inducing:

1. Trees smell great. Seriously. We stayed in a cabin on the Sandy River on the side of Mount Hood and I could not get over the good smelling around there, between trees, water, rocks, moss, and burning wood. You can’t smell a tree on the internet.

2. Rocks are pretty dope to climb on. One morning, I woke up early and spent a few minutes hopping and climbing to a rock at the middle of the river. Then I sat there for a few minutes and watched the river flow. I spent those minutes reflecting on where I want to live. You can’t climb on rocks on the internet.

3. It’s fun to chop wood. I got to chop wood! I’d never done it before, so Michael showed me how. Turns out I’m pretty good at wielding an axe. It was extraordinarily satisfying to break apart a hunk of tree. I think my life would be improved by more total wood-chopping. And I can’t chop wood on the internet.

4. You know what the internet doesn’t have? Glaciers. Guys. I got to hike up the highest trail on the mountain. There are glaciers up there. I’d never been that close to a glacier before! It’s pretty humbling, knowing that that inanimate mass of ice could, if you messed with it, become mobile and kill you. Glaciers are not to be messed with. And you can’t have that sort of bodily-relation-to-a-glacier type of experience on the internet.

5. Fire. Just fire. No computer will warm your senses and your soul. And the internet sure won’t.

6. Guess how much time I spent thinking about Donald Trump! Go on, guess. Have you guessed yet? The answer is: Less than four minutes in a span of seven days. How many articles about Donald Trump were shared on your Facebook feed and how much time did you spend thinking about him? I’m just saying, the internet facilitates Donald Trump.

7. Have you ever been to a cigar lounge? I’m going to bet, based on our reader demographic and the demographic of most cigar lounges, that the answer is no. I really recommend changing that. I got to spend a solid hour smoking a cigar and drinking Irish whiskey in the basement of a pub, having a substantive conversation, body language and pauses and all, with my husband, about how I would like my life to move forward now that the wedding is over. And the internet is just not a quiet, dark cigar lounge. It is basically the opposite.

8. I got to give things my undivided attention. Did you know that every minute, 72 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube? That comes out to almost 12 years of video uploaded to YouTube every day. Over two million pieces of content are shared on Facebook every minute, which means almost 3 billion per day. That’s insane! It occurred to me while I was trudging up the mountain that if I had had unfettered access to the internet during the trip, I would have been feeling so much heart-clenching anxiety over the type and amount of information I was taking in that I could not possibly accomplish a 4-mile uphill climb, just in terms of anxiety’s effect on my cardiovascular system, not to mention its effect on my focus. Perhaps I am just particularly sensitive to internet-related anxieties, but perhaps I am not alone in that.

9. I didn’t feel angry. I mean, sure, I got frustrated and irritated sometimes, but not the kind of directionless, purposeless anger that internet pile-ons facilitate. For example, I heard about Congress voting to defund Planned Parenthood a few days late, and it occurred to me that over the few days that I didn’t know about it, I had done precisely as much to affect change as I would have if I had gotten outraged and spewed vitriol all over the internet, which is to say, zero change was and would have been affected. Then I started wondering why I ever bothered to get outraged about anything that I couldn’t change with my outrage, anyway. Then I saw an internet headline from a leftist publication declaring that women had lost the war on women, and I thought, “OK, bye, internet,” because that’s the sort of sweeping, ridiculous declaration the internet makes to provoke the public into precisely this sort of click-inducing rage.

10. I got to spend time with my husband. And I can’t do that on the internet, not really. Now that we’re married it seems like something we ought to practice doing, since we’re in it together for a lifetime. It was great to put the phones down and not stare at a screen but look at each other’s faces and form words about things that are important to us, or even just to nap in the car while he drove, or listen to the radio, or read next to each other, or spend a few extra minutes in bed, or be too out of breath from hiking to even be able to converse, but to be there, with the top of a mountain in plain sight, together.

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