Re­cov­er­ing from the coils of In­ter­net ad­dic­tion

The Covington News - - SUNDAY LIVING - Kari Apted Colum­nist

Hello. My name is Kari and I’m a re­cov­er­ing In­ter­net ad­dict.

I of­ten hid my vice un­der the ruse of writ­ing. “Of course I was on the com­puter un­til 2 a.m.! I’m a writer. Re­mem­ber?” And then the guilt would settle be­cause I knew how lit­tle time I spent writ­ing any­thing mean­ing­ful.

The other hours were con­sumed with e-mail, MyS­pace, post­ing to my on­line moms’ group, up­load­ing dig­i­tal pho­tos and read­ing blogs.

But like most ad­dicts, I lived in bliss­ful de­nial un­til my in­ter­ven­tion. It came as a light­ning strike, per­haps straight from God.

They say that light­ning never strikes the same place twice— un­less you’re me. You might re­mem­ber that light­ning set our house ablaze ear­lier this year. It killed the in­ter­net con­nec­tion then, too. Could some­one be try­ing to tell me some­thing?

Here is a record of my bru­tally en­light­en­ing week of life off­line.

Fri­day 3:24 p.m.: Don­nie’s home, bear­ing yel­low squash from my grand­mother’s gar­den. I won­der if I might sneak it into my sons by hid­ing it in a zuc­chini bread recipe. But were those squashes in­ter­change­able?

Isit down to ask Google, but can’t log on. Don­nie runs di­ag­nos­tics, then calls DSL re­pair­men. They can’t come un­til Mon­day, af­ter 1 P.m..

3:33 p.m.: Deep breaths quell panic at­tack over hav­ing to solve squash dilemma by my­self.

Satur­day 12 p.m.: De­cide to take a chance and shred them into bread bat­ter. The re­sults are ex­cel­lent; even more kid-friendly than zuc­chini be­cause there aren’t any green flecks to ex­plain away. Sit down to e-mail the recipe to sev­eral friends, for­get­ting that I can’t.

1-5 p.m.: Clean house while hubby and sons bathe the dogs. Marvel over how much we ac­com­plish with­out the In­ter­net lur­ing us away.

6 p.m.: At­tend birth­day party. Lament to my friends about my In­ter­net with­drawals. One in­vites me over to use her com­puter. In­ter­nally scream “Yes! Thank you—let’s go now!” But I po­litely de­cline, not want­ing to look like an ad­dict or some­thing.

9:27 p.m.: Stare at blank screen and won­der what’s wait­ing for me in Cy­berspace. What if I’ve missed some­thing ur­gent and won’t know about it un­til Mon­day? What if? Made the mis­take of stat­ing my con­cerns aloud. Hus­band replies, “If some­one needs you, they can call.” Humph.

10:47 p.m.: Kids in bed, hus­band glued to ac­tion flick on TV. I wan­der into the of­fice by habit.

10:48 p.m.: Delve into a pile of mag­a­zines. Quite en­joy catch­ing up on read­ing.

12:33 A.m.: Drift off, dream­ing of utopia where modems never die.

Sun­day 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.: Out of the house all day. It’s good to be away from my sad, life­less screen.

9:17 p.m.: Shak­ily seek a fix on the dial-up con­nec­tion at my grand­mother’s house. It’s like rid­ing a tri­cy­cle af­ter fly­ing on a jet.

9:20-9:39 p.m.: Catch a lit­tle nap while wait­ing for my mail server to open.

9:40 p.m.: Lap­top freezes. I give up and go home.

Mon­day 8:14 a.m.: Birds are singing; sun is shin­ing! Only a few hours un­til my DSL sav­iors ar­rive in their nice white van. My hus­band sug­gests that an­other white van should come for me in­stead, one with a padded in­te­rior and straight jacket. He’s a real co­me­dian, that one.

1:01 p.m.: Park child at win­dow to an­nounce when re­pair van ar­rives. Start laun­dry, as said child wan­ders away from post.

3:19: Dogs bark; herald­ing an ar­riv- al! It’s only the mail­man.

4:01: Settle in with Oprah, tap­ping fin­gers. 4:58 p.m.: They’re here! 5:15 p.m.: It’s a quick fix and I log in. Oh happy day!

5:24 p.m.: Dis­mayed to dis­cover an in­box stuffed with spam. MyS­pace is de­void of new com­ments. Miffed that no one no­ticed I was MIA. Life went on with­out me.

Then, I no­ticed my clean house, clean dogs, and the stack of mag­a­zines ready for re­cy­cling, and felt OK about break­ing my ad­dic­tion.

It didn’t hurt as much onWed­nes­day when the DSL mys­te­ri­ously died again. Thurs­day’s re­pair man emerged vic­to­ri­ous af­ter a lengthy bat­tle with the dust bun­nies be­neath my desk. So, I’m con­nected again, but my em­bar­rass­ment over the dust strength­ens my re­solve to cut this time-drain­ing love af­fair with my com­puter.

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