lesenUsed to be, I was thrilled to be able to go online. About 15 years ago, I was deeply grateful to those advanced spirits among my acquaintance who permitted me to browse this new bookstore Amazon for a half-hour, and when I was at the university library, I loved looking up that amazing list of Jane Austen sequels I had discovered quite by accident. When I started at my new workplace, unlimited internet access was a major boon. A short time later I got my own internet access at home, and if I’m honest, there were times during which I was close to being seriously addicted.

Somehow, this has changed. Nowadays, it is the height of luxury and decadence for me to take a day (or even two!) off my computer. Not looking in at either AAR (sorry, folks!) or Amazon. Not going to a single news-site. Not even turning it on to check my mails. Nothing. Nada. Nichts.

I only indulge in this now and then. During the week, many of my colleagues and trainees whom I mentor contact me by mail, and I’d consider it rude not to react fairly quickly. I have gotten into the habit of catching the news online rather than on TV, and I do want my daily dosage of news. And really, I love browing the internet, going to favorite sites and rounding off the session with a game of Minesweeper.

But when I am exhausted, or busy with preparing for something entirely unrelated to cyberspace, like a dinner party, or when it’s just the first day of the holidays, just walking by that machine that has become so very important for so many facets of my life, and keeping it unplugged, makes me feel happy and grounded and a bit more independent, a bit less available. So I indulge. And feel like I’m on vacation.

Are there times for you during which you keep your computer off on purpose?

-Rike Horstmann