In Which I Have an Uneasy Relationship with the Internet

Last night our internet went down, and after a brief scare that perhaps we didn’t pay the bill (we were two of those 40 million people who had their debit card numbers breached in that whole Target fiasco, and we got new cards– did we change all of our autopays?) we realized that the blustery rain in our old neighborhood was the more likely culprit. We decided to not call the phone company until the morning, if the internet was still out.

Normally, my husband would surf on the computer as soon as he got home from work, then he and our daughter would watch a documentary before she went to bed. And since Breaking Bad’s last season is now on Netflix, he had a date with the last few episodes of that. But our routine was interrupted. I kept finding myself composing tweets or statuses while washing dishes. My husband paced a little more than usual and got a little cranky. My daughter did not understand that her Nook also needed the internet if she wanted to watch a show on it.

About a half hour after dinner, everyone seemed more at ease. My husband had a cup of tea and watched John Candy’s Delirious on network TV– there’s more than one way to zone out, it seems! My daughter and I played four games of Uno before bed.

I learned two things.

One, my kid is a ruthless Uno player. She will dump all of her +2’s and +4 wild cards on you and never look back. She will also unabashedly inform you that she is going to win, and you are a lo-o-ser– even if you end up winning the game. I suspect she has a healthy ego.

Two, if I want my goal for Lent to be met, I’m going to have to scale waaaaaay back on my Facebook time. I post a lot. If I read something funny, I share it or comment on it. If my kid says something funny, I post it. And then, of course, I check to see if anybody commented or is up to anything interesting. The thing is, I’m terribly nosy. It’s part of being a writer, I think, that nosiness. When I was teaching, as much as I despised giving essays grades, I absolutely loved reading about my students’ thoughts and lives. Facebook is the same for me. With the click of a button, I can see what in-town and out-of-town friends are up to, read some book reviews, and look for clues about peoples’ personalities based on their Facebook likes. I’m nosy and I know it. I’m not even sorry for it. I can’t even begin to understand people who have no interest in what other people think, do, or say. I just don’t get it.

But it is time consuming when it becomes a kind of itch that I can’t help scratching and therefore scratch it all the time. Also, it’s not healthy to scratch something all the time. You get a rash or something. A hotspot, if I were a dog. I don’t want a hotspot, and I do want more control over my time, so I’m going to have to cut down severely on the Facebooking. I read a quarter of a novel last night in the interim time between doing the dishes and playing all those games of Uno with my kid, and I didn’t check my Facebook once. It was nice. So, while I may not be giving up Facebook for Lent, I am giving it up so that I can reach my writing goal for Lent.

I’ll have to check it once a day, because I’m not a very social person  in real life, and I don’t actually want to miss out on an event  or invitation that I might only know about through Facebook. Also, there’s something kind of needy about declaring on Facebook that you are “taking a break” from that very site. I’ve done it myself– no shaming here!– and in retrospect I was half expecting to hear a, “But we’ll miss you!” and that’s not the right reason to take a break, you know? So I think I’ll check it once a day and just leave it at that. Unless you are reading this post, you won’t even know the difference!

In other news, I am halfway through Jo Nesbø’s The Bat (Oops! SPOILER ALERT if you click that link, dammit), which is the first Harry Hole mystery. He is a different character, not as fractured. I think I like the later, fractured Harry better than this more idealistic, almost happy fellow. Or perhaps it was Nesbø himself that hadn’t quite found his footing yet. Had I read this one first, however, I still would have gone on to the rest in the series, so there’s that.

There are a number of suspects, and one is about to get snatched up into custody– but I’m only halfway through, so I am fairly certain this is a red herring. I think I know who did it– I think, but am not sure– and thank goodness this is on my Kindle or I would have flipped to the end already to check! I do that. With a good book like this, it would be a shame for me to revert to habit and see who the serial killer turns out to be, if my hunch is right, but most of the time that little habit saves me hours of reading mediocre books.

I don’t know how to put it really, without sounding like I am complaining, but the writing in The Bat does not take as many lyrical turns and I don’t have the foreboding sense that everything is going to go to Hell in a handbasket in 3… 2… 1…, which is how I normally feel while reading one of the Harry Holes. Still, compared to a bunch of other mysteries out on the market– and especially those that were popular in 1997, when this came out– it is a standout, full of commendable mystery things, like believable twists and interesting characters, a noir-ish detective, and just plain good storytelling. Also, Australia features as an actual character, and I love books that do that (mysteries and regular fiction), and that’s one of the reasons why I love the Soho Crimes so much. This isn’t a Soho Crime, but it might as well be.

I have the other half of the book to finish, though, so this isn’t a full book report.

As for cooking, I am still waiting on those preserved lemons, but I’ve been looking for tagines. I think I’m going to get this one at Cost Plus.

Isn't it pretty?
Isn’t it pretty?

One thought on “In Which I Have an Uneasy Relationship with the Internet

  1. I’ve just realized the irony that I’m posting the sentiment “I’m taking a break from FB” on FB, even though I didn’t want to actually say so on FB, despite saying it’s needy to say it on FB. I’m giving myself a headache trying to word that. OH WELL.

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