Escaping The Web

Michael Brendan Dougherty unplugs from email and blogs:

Immediately, I realized how much anxiety the flow and ease of communication brings. The annoyance people have when they cannot reach you. The itch to pick up the silent cell phone and check to see if anyone has called or texted. The certain knowledge that e-mail is quite figuratively piling up in your endlessly expansive gmail account. After you put away the devices that keep you connected to the flow, put them out of your sight, that anxiety begins to recede, slowly. The obligation to respond to e-mails almost instantly, or at least within a few hours, disappears, and you can imagine yourself having normal conversation, relaxed, the way your grandparents did.

Except, of course, everyone else wants to talk about what they were reading on the web. On Friday afternoon, after a drive to New York, I spoke with friends who expected me to have a firm opinion on the fluctuations of the market. Even if I stole a glance at the ticker, by that time it was too late. I wasn't experiencing or reacting to everyone else's panic in real time. Who cares if the figure at the end of the day wasn't all that different from the beginning of the day? The effect of unplugging is the same as living in a foreign country for a period of time. You can read about the events taking place, but you don't experience them.