Off the grid

This past week, I sat in the cabin of Kerrie’s uncle’s yacht. (Seriously. A yacht.)

We sped across the Chesapeake Bay on our way to the island of St. Martin, scooting to the left of Hurricane Hannah for long enough to enjoy a handful of local stone crabs and a pitcher or two of Stella Artois.

It sounds luxurious, but it was short. Hannah decided to rear its windblown head in our direction, and we had to high tail it out before the waves became too choppy.

We hit some wind, the spray from the Bay coasted into the boat, and I found myself gently caressed by salt water, not quite soaked but certainly not dry. I inhaled the breeze, enjoyed the speed and relaxed. I was off of the grid, with no worries, no connections, and no responsibility. I was just living life.

Similarly, I was off of the Internet, too.

Aside from checking my e-mail once every two days, I had no contact with the Internet during my entire vacation. Ten days.

I enjoyed it.

No offense to the handful of people I call my “Internet Friends” – those who I feel I have some kind of odd connection with due to constant Twitter updates and flickr longing and blog reading, but haven’t actually ever really met in real life – I just didn’t miss you that much. (I still like you – wait…why are you un-following me on Twitter? No!)

There’s an urge to constantly update your life on the Internet, to keep creating, to keep pushing yourself out further and further until you can’t go back – until the very idea of disconnecting from the Internet is frightening.

And there’s a logical answer: we only remember what we find interesting. If you hold up for a few months and come back to the Web, you’ll find yourself forgotten, for the most part. It’s part of being a member of the exciting world of Internet Creativity – for good and for bad.

So I’ve always felt a twinge of regret when I don’t write for Black Marks on Wood Pulp, or if I forget to check up on my favorite blogs, or if I lose track of some connection in the world wide web. I feel as if I’m missing out, like those guys who get the Season Ticket package and feel they have to watch every single game. It’s part of my obsession with being a completist.

This past week, I was able to let it go. And it felt good.

I still had ideas that needed to be burst forth. My Moleskin was never in the right place at the right time. I had lost the spontaneity that I love, the idea that my thoughts can be put on the page RIGHT NOW and people will read it, immediately, without worrying about time constraints or publishing windows or any of that annoying shit.

But I suppressed them. I collected them, until now, when I’m back at the computer, catching up on some things, letting others go, feeling completely at ease with creating a gap in the continuity of the Internet life.

Think of this when you’re feeling overwhelmed with the amount of information available. Take yourself off the grid. You don’t’ have to go nearly charging through a hurricane to do it.

You just have to be willing to sit back, let someone else take the wheel, and breathe in the air.

This was lovingly handwritten on September 7th, 2008