Lo and behold, it's happening again. I feel the raw, sucking pain in my cerebellum of under-stimulation. With enough of my network turned away from the Interface and towards family, friends, and home, I find myself refreshing apps and pages, seeing the same results over and over again, the definition of insanity.
I haven't been home in nearly a year. It's an archaeological experience at this point. The yards and house and rooms in which I grew up now reveal unseen significance everywhere I turn, in every drawer and book and door I open. I thought the expedition would be therapeutic after such a long time away. But my habits definitely got the best of me this time.
I'm preoccupied by what isn't happening in my virtual world. My old friends have provided some successful evening escapes, but during the days, when I've been at home, I've succumbed to crushing boredom, oxytocin withdrawals, and panicked circling of my routine app checklist.
I've only got one more day to go, and then it's back to work in the attention mines.
My struggles with digital detox have made me feel pathetic. I like to think I'm under control. I fancy myself a meditator and eye-contactor and in-person conversationalist. Disconnecting from the Web seems like a trivial problem to me, something I should be able to just do.
And yet I find that the only remedy is to take away the option altogether, to go somewhere without an Internet connection, to actually hide my computers from myself, or to drain their batteries and hide the chargers. If I have the option to connect, I exercise it almost automatically.
I have a layer of justifications about how I use the Web "well" by reading and sharing only the most stimulating of posts and memes. But whether that's true or not, I use the Web at the almost total expense of my inward programming. I'm conditioning myself for mental dependence rather than independence, a tendency that runs counter to my beliefs and aspirations. I'm hurting myself.
I hate to use the word "addiction" to describe obsessive use of technology, but I'm running out of synonyms. I believe in the power of names. Maybe if I start naming my addiction, I'll start to regain control of it.
I'm also a dealer, though. How can I relate to that?