We have something I wish more young married couples had–a fast internet connection. And by “fast” I don’t mean the lightning speed of satellite, DSL, or cable. I mean, fast on, fast off. Pull into the empty library parking lot after church, click “Send and Receive”, and check our list of websites for the week as fast as we can–gnawing hunger pains keeping our surfing at a minimum.
It’s not that we couldn’t get internet at our house. It’s not that we won’t ever have internet access at home. And it’s not that it wouldn’t be handy. Merritt calls my dad at least once a day during haying season to get the latest weather forecast. And Natalie and my mom get more than their fair share of calls from me asking if they could look up this, or buy that.
But as inconvenient as it is at times, it’s kind of nice not to have internet access in our home. The computer doesn’t stay on all day, a constant distraction pulling me from dishes or cleaning. Merritt and I spend our evenings together on the couch, reading books separately or out loud, listening to a book on tape, or watching a movie every once in a while–not staring at our separate computer screens.
And instead of wasting hours playing around on the internet, I’ve learned to make that quick connection count. I use Outlook so I can read and write emails offline. I blog by email. And I keep a Post-It Note on the laptop to make notes throughout the week of websites we needed to look at or download from.
We still have a FaceBook account, to keep up with friends–but we rarely get time to write on anyone else’s “Wall” [and we keep our friends list to acquaintances only, sorry]. I like to keep up with a few blogs (like my little brother’s that never gets updated, and this one called ylcf.org), and read friends’ updates on LiveJournal. It’s frustrating when someone links to something else and I find the link after I’m offline. And I detest LJ-cuts. But I make FireFox’s Bookmark Folders work overtime, and save the links for next time, with a folder for “Blogs” and two ever-changing folders called “Open to Read,” and “Open 4 Action.” Then when I’m online, I “Open all in Tabs” and hibernate my computer so I can read the pages later.
We hope someday soon to have internet access at least a little bit closer to home. It’s hard to design websites and get good deals on e-bay when the ‘net is 10 miles away. But I’m writing this post as a reminder to myself, for when we do get online again. Because, like any self-taught computer-geek, I always found it all-too-easy to spend inordinate amounts of time online. But I hope my time offline has made me a better steward of my time–on and off the internet. And when we do have a connection to the outside world in our living room, I want to make sure I spend my time and energy on what is in the living room, not beyond.