$100 Bucks a Month Richer

When I reported that not only were we living without television but are now forfeiting our internet, a dear friend included this link in response:


It hurt. I hate The Onion. They’re always right. I started to think about everyone I’ve told about our new lease on life: nothing but Blockbuster, the Anchorage Daily News, stamps, a land line, and other enterprises that will soon be extinct or bankrupt.

Yet, when I came home yesterday, our first day of total disconnect, I walked the dogs for the first time in months. Usually, I hook them up to a five foot lead and make them hang out next to their own frozen cesspools so I can turn on the computer. When Aaron came home, he sat on the couch and we talked about our days, distracted only by Clara’s new obsession with turning the heater off and on.

I think some people can live happily and healthily with the internet, even people under 65. But, I am particularly vain and vulnerable to various forms of attention. I’ll check email so often that I’ll be disappointed if J.Crew hasn’t sent me their daily offer for half-off pants called “The Allison” since I bought a t-shirt from them ten years ago. If I’m not checking email, I’m checking to see how many clicks this blog gets. One day, it occurred to me that in real life, social protocol keeps most people from staring at other people to see if they’re staring back, but online, someone like me can easily become—and there is no other word for this—pathetic.

As I rocked Clara to sleep last night, I realized that, for a lot of us, the internet is, yes, a net and a web, but more problematically, it’s a world. I think when we watch television we bring other worlds into our own–which can be a lot of fun, and when we go online, we leave our world for another. We’re in our offices or our living rooms but we’re not; we’re checking out our one-year-old playing with her books, but we’re not with her. We’ve gone somewhere else for a little while (or a long while), which is perfectly fine if you don’t like where you’re sitting, but that’s the thing. I like where I’m at and who I’m with and I don’t know why I spend so much time staring at my stinkin’ click count.

Anyway, I’ve gone and done it and actually wrote multiple paragraphs about going gridless, not just mentioned it casually to dear friends.But, I think, for me, the problem with all that access is it might actually be accessed. And, if we are what we think, then I’m not sure what happens when all we think about is ourselves and our inboxes, but it sounds like a bad carnival ride with too many mirrors and too much spinning in circles.

(Side Effect: Expect pictures—hopefully, lots of them— of the monkey on Tuesdays and Thursdays.)


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2 responses to “$100 Bucks a Month Richer

  1. mpieh

    Sherry, I love this! You hit the nail on the head…and have such a gift for putting your thoughts into words…something I wish I could do better. When we first went TV-less, almost 6 years ago now, I honestly didn’t think it would last long. But now when we DO see what’s on TV (at friends’ houses, hotels, etc.), we think, “Wow, we’re sure not missing out on anything worth seeing!” And our kids are SO much better off for not being “conditioned” by TV shows and, especially, advertisements. When they do see TV commercials, they totally see them for what they are: outlandishly over-the-top, unrealistic, and STUPID attempts at brainwashing people into thinking they NEED material things to be happy.

    But going without internet…wow…I really admire you for that one. I’m sure that I spend more time than I should staying connected with people and current events online. And I’m always “torn” on that issue. When you live so far away for dear family and friends (as we both do), isn’t it important to stay connected? Yes, but I often feel that I’m staying TOO well connected to people far away, at the expense of developing truly close relationships with the people right here in my own backyard, so to speak. “Bloom where you’re planted” as my grandma likes to say. 🙂

    Isn’t this crazy? I just typed a long message to you, sitting in front of a lifeless computer, when you live just a few miles away and I could have just as easily called you! 🙂

  2. Well said. So here’s my excuse. I want the living room tv gone. I’m the only that uses it, but I am also the housemate that doesn’t own it. I need it gone because it distracts me from work, from writing, from clicking on my inbox. That is correct. I want the tv gone because it distracts me from the internet. If I drank more, I’d probably have more friends. So much for life in England.

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