Self-analysis after the meltdownYesterday morning my “mother ship” computer, the big boxy one I work on at home, slipped into a coma. My address book refused to open, Internet pages looked like patchwork quilts, and all my files (including my book manuscripts) had been converted to one strange font, because nearly all the other fonts had disappeared.
I’m a compulsive backer-upper (pardon the technical term), so I wasn’t worried about losing too many things. I even have a backup laptop computer, which I quickly settled into place on my desk. But the laptop has only been used for travel, so it’s not connected to my local Internet service.
I couldn’t get on the Internet, not until the provider’s office opened. I was disconnected, cast adrift, out of touch with everyone and all the work I had planned to do, and...
Without that Internet connection, my plans for the day--catching up on e-mail (currently piled sky-high), updating my Web site, communicating with various boards and committees--came to a halt. I could have worked on my current writing project, but first I needed to do some research. On the Internet.
It looked like I was going to have to--gulp--take the morning off.
And fifteen minutes later, after I’d alphabetized my spice rack and rearranged the linens in the buffet, as I stared out a window and wondered if I should fertilize the trees in the yard--and whether someone might arrive at my Internet provider’s office early and answer the phone before business hours--it occurred to me that I’ve forgotten how to take time off.
The Internet is a wonderful thing. But it’s also a way to extend the work day ‘round the clock, every day of the week. I can always find another story idea, another promotional opportunity, another article to read if I stay online. My compulsive nature matched with something that large and accessible--it’s a bad combination.