September 2, 2011

My name is Laura and I am an internet addict

On Wednesday, around 4pm, my laptop started getting all freeze-y and annoying. I finished up what I was working on (pretty important document summarizing the output of an estimation meeting we had just finished, of which I had the only copy) and restarted my computer, only to discover that it wouldn’t start up. Whether I tried safe mode, safe mode with networking, start Windows normally, or last known good configuration, it would freeze at some point in the boot processs and never get me anywhere.

After calling my company’s IT helpline, I learned that the only solution was for me to bring it into the office. I had learned from my boss’ own IT problems a few weeks ago that the nearest office to my client in Charlottesville was in Washington, DC (a few hours’ drive), and it closed at 5pm sharp. That meant there was no fixing it that night, and my best bet was changing my Thursday afternoon flight home to this morning at 6am – getting me to the New York office by 8am so I could be first in line at our IT helpdesk there. It took them until 4pm to get the computer up and working and back to me, so I spent the day mostly catching up on personal stuff: going grocery shopping, hitting the gym, doing some laundry, etc. I felt kind of guilty that I had a free day – but there really just wasn’t anything for me to do without a computer!

It’s crazy to think how much of our world today is affected by and dependent on computers. Throughout the day as I was puttering around the apartment, I kept wanting to check things online – Google something, email someone, etc. I still had my smartphone, so I could get done what I really needed to do, but it threw me for a bit of a loop each time I realized that I couldn’t just quickly do something on a whim. I started only Googling things when I really needed to know them, instead of just when I idly wondered something, and it was a bit of a wakeup call.

Some of the things I wanted my laptop for were silly things, and once I had to go through the effort of using the touchscreen on my phone to enter them, they weren’t worthwhile anymore, so they got skipped. But skipping them told me something – I wasn’t willing to spend 10 seconds typing them with my phone, so how important could they really be? Perhaps those would be things to cut back on going forward, even once I had my laptop. On the other hand, some of the things I chose to look up on my phone were still trite – I was surprised how much effort I was putting into them anyway. What does it say about my priorities that I’m so addicted to the latest Groupon deals I had to read them on my smartphone?

I have my computer back today (apparently my priorities do not include typing out an entire blog post on my smartphone), and I’m now trying to be more mindful over what I’m using it for and how I’m using it. Maybe some of that time that I spend looking up “who is that actress and what have I seen her in before” could be better spent reading a book or going for a run.

Or? Maybe I just need to accept that not everything I do is going to be efficient and streamlined, and let myself relax and enjoy it 🙂 Off to Television Without Pity!


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