On a Life Less Online, or Snubbing the Gadget Age

So I was offline for almost a month, spending the holidays in Colorado, no landline phone, no Wifi, no email, no mornings spent perusing The Daily Mail or any other mildly amusing waste of time. The air tasted cleaner. I felt stronger. I talked to my neighbors . . . . Which is all true, although I would also add that it wasn’t that big of a deal. The internet is like indoor plumbing now, something you take for granted in a normal household. It did free up my mornings a bit. I tend to wake up and read the New York Times and a few other news sites to see what’s going on in the world. And is that necessary? I don’t know. Like anything else, you can get addicted to Information.

For Christmas my family received one of those framed gadget-things that display jpeg-images in a slideshow, and it seemed to land on my shoreline as one-too-many gadgets. I have iphoto and Picasa to display my jpegs on my laptop, and now I’m supposed to read the directions to setup this gadget to do the same thing? I’m over this Gadget Age. It’s draining the time of our lives.

About williamjcobb

William J. Cobb is a novelist, essayist, and short fiction writer whose work has been published in The New Yorker, The Mississippi Review, The Antioch Review, and many others. He’s the author of two novels—The Fire Eaters (W.W. Norton 1994) and Goodnight, Texas (Unbridled 2006)—and a book of stories, The White Tattoo (Ohio State UP 2002). He has reviewed books for the Dallas Morning News, the Houston Chronicle, and the New York Times. He lives in Pennsylvania and Colorado. He may be contacted at wjcobb@gmail.com.
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