When I first moved in to my apartment a couple of years ago, I made sure that the free Wi-Fi reached to my particular unit. I didn’t want the hassle of packing everything up and venturing to the community room every time I wanted to use the internet. (I am thankful to say I don’t have an office job where I’m stuck on a computer all day. It’s also relevant to this story that I don’t have a smartphone.)
Everything was fine until a couple of months ago when the network that I was using, that reached to my apartment, quit working. Apparently that particular network was not going to be an option for the future, so I was told to just use the free Wi-Fi in the community room (which is only available in that space).
I don’t want to go there. It’s part of the laundry room, so it’s hot, stuffy and humid, plus you never know if there will be others around. I’d much rather be at home in my comfy private nest, sipping tea and listening to the classical music station.
That’s so much more of a pleasant environment to waste copious amounts of time surfing the web.
Besides, I need constant access to the internet. I need to check things and look stuff up. Weather, email, Facebook, my bank account — and how else can I play chess?
But unless I wanted to pay for it then breaching the great divide of the parking lot was my option.
I thought this was a good opportunity for me to practice what I preach. I tell others to unplug and get back into real life. I know I spent too much time online but just succumbed to the path of least resistance. I could see how Facebook didn’t do me any favors, usually leaving me with a feeling of inadequacy about my own life (which is a common phenomenon).
Then the beautiful thing happened. I realized it wasn’t a huge loss. It was freeing to not have to get online mornings and evenings, leaving me time to tackle real-life books. My mental space wasn’t taken up worrying about what everyone was posting on Facebook.
I found that just that small barrier of walking across the parking lot to the community room was enough of an inconvenience that that made it not worth it to be online every day. I can hear the weather from the local radio station.
Checking email and bank balances can be done once or twice a week. Chess games can be played live with another person with physical pieces.
I discovered it was easier to walk over to the public library during a break from work to see if they have an item rather than waiting until I was online to look it up on their website. I can communicate with friends through texting throughout the day rather than trying to remember what I need to email them later.
It’s amazing how you might think something is such a necessity until you don’t have it and then realize it’s not an inconvenience to be without it. I experienced the same thing about 10 years ago when my microwave quit working and I decided I could just heat food on the stove like we did back in the ’70s.
Now if I can just get myself to quit spending so much time checking out movies from the library …
Stephanie Haines of Bloomington is a Greenfield native. She can be reached through her website, www.stephaniehaines.com.