We were visiting my in-laws for a few days over the weekend of my oldest's birthday. This is something that we have done before, but this time for some reason we could not connect to the internet. At first, we struggled to hook up. After the second day, I decided to just ignore the problem. Because, you know, I'm cool like that. I go with the flow. No stress. And I am SO not dependent on technology.
By the second evening I was sweating a little. I may or may not have run around their house holding my Kindle desperately to each window, praying for reception. No signal. Really?
So I texted a little just to ease the longing.
By the next day was really worrying about the blog, the Facebook page(s), the email inbox(es), my twitter account, that would, no doubt be overflowing with hundreds of fan letters--people wondering what terrible fate had befallen me.
I would like to think I would have viewed the break as a time to slow down and reflect, so I forced myself not to think about it. Meanwhile, Superman, who has no pride in such situations, borrowed our host's laptop for a few minutes to check email. I knew for sure there was no way I could spend a reasonable amount of time online if given the chance. I would need to suck it up like a camel arriving at a desert oasis, like a drug addict finally getting a hit. I would need hours to read, comment, email update statuses, tweet and possibly shop because, who knew when I might get the chance again! I knew it would draw me in and render me powerless to enjoy my visit, my chance to slow down. So, I refused to go there; I refused to reveal my weakness.
Instead, my heart lept when I finally got a signal on the Kindle. Hooray! I rushed to update my Facebook status. I tried in vain to check my email with any shred of familiarity or ease. (I'm a visual person, I need to see those color schemes I set up and the familiar shapes and icons, so mobile browsers just don't cut it for me.) I shopped in the Kindle store, just because I could. I texted.
Then, I caught a glimpse of my reflection in the window. I saw the fiendish glimmer in my eye, the smirk of my mouth. I didn't care about food or drink. I hadn't checked on the kids...
I realized this was not vacation. This was no break... and O.K. maybe I have a problem.
Wouldn't I prefer to be the girl who blooms where she is planted, who is lit from within, who makes lemonade from lemons? In theory, yes. But...
I shut down the Kindle and put away the crippled laptop and stashed the cell phone and enjoyed what was left of the trip. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the whole trip, but I was determined to NOT be distracted any longer. We covered their sidewalks in chalk and soaked up the last hours in Iowa for a while.
I didn't even check my mail on the car ride home. I actually read a magazine. A real, print one! It was glorious! (Have you seen those things? You can hold them and turn the pages yourself, just like in the old days!)
And so this morning, I am playing catch-up, while I wash the dirty laundry and get the kids back into our routine. But don't think for a minute I am not diagnosing the problem in the back of my mind. No, I'm scheming and planning because you know, next year when we go to Iowa... well, let's just say, if you see a tent pitched at the base of a cell tower, I'd love it if you stopped in to say hi. I'll be on vacation, you know, relaxing, slowing down, reflecting...with my Kindle in one hand, my cell in the other and my laptop open; about 20 tabs up, poised and ready, just in case there's some living to be done.