25 January 2007

Back to Cyberland

Well, I'm finally back and my computer is now functioning.

As some of you know, last week I had the wonderful experience of burning up a hard-drive. This is the second one in 6 years. So, for about a week, my computer has been in the shop getting a new hard-drive, a new power supply, a new floppy drive, and a CD burner. The last two things were things I wanted for some time, so while Mike was working on my computer, I had him put them in. What was totally surprising was the bill -- only charged me $30 for the labor. (The hardware was a whole lot more since I have an old and somewhat special computer which takes expensive, non-standard parts.) So, if anyone is near Yucca Valley, CA and needs a computer fixed, go to Computer Zone!

Anyway, it was rather interesting to live without a computer and tv for a week. The only computer I dealt with was one of the public computers in the library to let eBay buyers know that I was computerless. Other than that, nothing. And I'm still refusing to watch tv (I should explain why someday).

At first I was panicky and really agitated about not being able to check my email, auctions, etc. I discoverd that my whole day was structured around reading emails, listing auctions, and checking auctions. Without a computer, this structure was gone. But my mind kept saying, "Time to check the auctions." It was an interesting tug-of-war that left me nervous and confused. And I will admit that I was bored at times.

After a couple of days the panic left and I really began to enjoy the extra time I had. I figure that not having a computer opened up 2-3 hours a day to do other things. I read 2 books, watched dvds, cleaned my house, fixed gourmet meals, and started on a built-in bookcase in my studio. These are things that either needed to be done or I had wanted to do, but never had time to do. It was a shock to me once I realized how much of this other stuff I was getting done. I knew I was on the computer off-and-on during a typical day, but I never realized just how much time (and energy) it took up.

But there was another interesting effect of having no computer or tv. My mind became calmer and I felt more rested. It took a few days for this to really become apparent, but then I noticed that not only was my mood brighter, but I felt physically better. I presume some of this had to do with me eating better and not sitting in front of this keyboard, but I don't think it totally explains it. I also had a minor burst of creativity -- the small palette knife paintings easily happened and I came up with tons of ideas.

And then the computer was back from the shop. I confess, the first day back, I overdosed. Not only did I have to deal with some problems (partial recovery of data from the old hard-drive is NOT fun!), but I had a list of things to check on the internet and about 175 non-spam emails to deal with. I would say within 3 hours, my mind was back to where it had been before the meltdown.

So, what do I do now with this interesting experience? I don't know. I would give myself computer holidays, but I make my money from selling art on the internet, so I can't really say, "This May, I'm not using my computer." (Well, I could say that, but I also like to eat!) I think the best I can do is to become more aware of how much I am using this computer and try not to use it to entertain myself when I'm bored. There's a number of other activities, such as reading, cooking, building shelves, etc, which are more interesting (and useful) than putting puzzles together online or playing solitaire on my computer.

No comments: