Another post from down Yucca Valley way. Once again, I'm learning stuff about myself that I really didn't want to know. Growing up at long last.
You see, I have this idea that I am immune from many things, and chief among them, internet addiction. After all, I don't watch porn, gamble online, or indulge in online relationships that go nowhere fast.
One trip to the high desert has disabused me of this latest idea, that I, a knowledge worker in the heart of cloud computing, am immune to internet addiction. The high desert is gorgeous: bright sun, no inversion layer (sorry about that, NorCal and Central Valley), so much color and rich variety of shapes. Some of the people are friendly, too. And there's enough peace and quiet to really feel relaxed, human again.
But e-infrastructure in this remote corner of Southern California? Not so much.
When I first arrived at my dream vacation casita, nestled in Pine Canyon, I was blissed out. You could hear the occasional car--fifty miles away! Little birds flocked aroun the casita, and last night I heard the distinctive call of the coyote, something I haven't heard since 1968.
But there's no e-access. No access at all. No cell reception. No landline, though the owners in the main house are happy to have me visit their back porch and use their line. And the wifi won't stay up--some kind of satellite issue, though I'm sure there's no sunspots happening. Perhaps a global conspiracy to force me to face my addiction?
I panicked. I ruminated about packing all my books, papers, computers, and food for the week right back into the car and driving another 8 hours home, where connectivity is 24/7, taken for granted, a way of life.
But really, I'm supposed to be on a writing vacation. The size of the panic, and spoiled rage fit that followed surprised me. I'm a road warrior, a world traveler, in it for the people, not the technology. So Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, peeps? (My friend Laurel Nicholes taught me this expression. Makes a big circle with the actual code my parents, pilots, talked from time to time. Thank you Laurel, and Mom, I'm still trying to stop swearing like a sailor.)
I made a big excuse at first: I wasn't expecting to be cut off, so of course my boss and my husband will be freaked out. When I drove to the coffee shop and called in, hours overdue, I couldn't get either one of them to agree. I was here to write, wasn't I?
These are the things that went kablooie because of no cell reception or wifi:
- ActiveLink baselines: I'm carrying a little thingee around to measure my average daily exercise. Without wifi, I can't load up every day.
- Food tracking. I can't directly log what I eat each day. Quelle horror, I have to write it down longhand and log it in when I return to civilization.
- I can't stay in touch with work. This one is a bit scary. But I'm just going to post the casita owner's home phone. Because it's 99.999% likely no one will need me while I'm gone.
- I can't call my adorable husband on impulse and shout "I just saw a bobcat!" or 'I heard your coworkers on the air--baby you got out of radio just in time." My impulses really resent being thwarted.
- I can't waste writing time on the internet.
Aha--the real source of my panic. I have to face head on that I made a commitment to deliver a fixed novel in a week's time. Busted! This fear of facing my own potential failure is even stronger than internet addiction, which I'm pretty sure is real. Otherwise, my eye wouldn't be twitching right now, would it?
The desert's heartbreaking beauty and fragility call to me. I'll stay put, fix my novel, walk in the afternoons among the rocks and sagebrush, and I'll post pictures when I return. Hopefully they won't have to check me into internet addiction rehab somewhere! And if my novel isn't this generation's Maltese Falcon, that's just going to have to be okay.
I remain your faithful correspondant, lost in the land that internet forgot, and kind of loving it.