"Are we Internet addicts?" David asked me yesterday.
We were watching an earnest-looking woman on public television explain the warning signs of cyber addiction. These include increased time spent online, less time spent with family and loved ones, secrecy, denial, disorientation, financial problems, difficulty disengaging from the computer ... increased gas with oily discharge ...
(OK. Some parts of this addiction definitely sound like more fun than *other* parts.)
"We used to be hooked on AOL, I think," I replied thoughtfully. "Back in the Boom Room days. But I don't think we qualify anymore."
True, I had spent very nearly the entire weekend in front of the computer. I've got a list of excuses as long as my arm, and they're all legit: I'm sick, I look like hell, my sinus medicine is making me cranky, I don't feel like going anywhere, I need to learn the new graphics program, I'll nap later, at least it's keeping me quiet, blah blah blah.
True, I was maintaining an Internet connection for most of the weekend ... mainly so I could instantly upload changes to the website without having to reconnect. Not that I actually wrote anything, mind you: mostly I just tinkered under the hood. But I kept the engine running.
True, I had AOL humming in the background at all times. But I kept the window minimized. And I was using one of my dorky *stealth* names, known only to God and the Tots, in case they popped online and wanted to engage in a little mindless conversation. God was a no-show, but I did get to chat with Son #Only at some length ...
Son#Only: "My hair looks like s**t."True, I found it extremely difficult to tear myself away from the computer at the end of the day on Saturday and Sunday, even after spending nine hours in front of the damn thing. ("I didn't get anything dooooone," I whined to David, massaging the blood back into my fingers.) When he fell asleep last night, midway through "The David Cassidy Story" ("Hot Blooded" playing at a Hollywood pool party in 1973?? I don't THINK so), I tiptoed out here to the dining room and quietly flipped the computer back on and fiddled some more with my unfinished Paint Shop Pro project. It was only when I realized that I'd lost all physical sensation from the elbows down that I finally shut down the Monster PC and crept back to bed.
And true, this morning -- my day off from work -- I am right back in front of the 'puter.
But I still don't believe that any of this qualifies as Internet addiction.
I think, in my case, it's more like "PROJECT Addiction."
Basically, it means that once I've started a project -- even if it's something dorky, like turning eighteen different dingbat fonts into .jpg images for the website ... or something purely organizational, like cataloging five years' worth of e-mail into chronological/alphabetical [ludicrously anal-retentive] folders -- I don't want to stop until it's finished. In fact, I get darned-near FRANTIC if anybody tries to pull me away from something in mid-project.
David: "How about if we see what they're cooking on 'Iron Chef'?"
What can I tell you? If this is an illness -- which it very well could be -- then it's an illness I've been afflicted with since childhood. (See: Nine-Year-Old Secra, sitting in front of the Remington, furiously cranking out her monthly *Terri's Fun Book* while the other kids are outside riding bikes.) Ever since I was a Tot, I've loved having two or three or thirty-seven different creative projects in the works at once. And the simple fact of it is that most of my favorite "projects," these days, are computer-related. Most of them involve writing, typing, filing, research, graphics ...and a decent web browser. Even the new piano has ties to the Internet: over the weekend I found a site that sells the book of Clementi sonatinas I've been looking for.
Yep. I'm a Project Junkie. I feed on the rush that comes with a new idea, and I get totally high watching it near completion. (I don't even want to tell you what it feels like when I finally *finish* something: this is a FAMILY website, forcryingoutloud.) And these days the computer is often the conduit that feeds that addiction ... the same way my typewriter used to be, or my crayons, or my library card.
(Or my box of Gallo Mountain Chablis.)
Yes it's nerdy. Yes it's antisocial. Yes it's expensive sometimes. Yes it's probably unhealthy: I *should* be outside riding my bike with the other kids.
But at least it isn't Internet addiction. Right?
As for David ... I can't really speak for him here.
blurb #1 will go HERE: so how am
i spending my
precious day off, you ask?
what do you think?
where i'll ask a *relevant* question:
amazingly profound thought of the day: "There are two kinds of people: those who finish what they start, and