Thomas Friedman, The New York Times, January 25, 2017:
“He can make you so nuts — he can so vacuum your brains out — that you find yourself slumped on the sofa all day refreshing Twitter, eating a big bowl of your son’s Honey Nut Cheerios, Cheerio by Cheerio, dry, for lunch, with a piece of prosciutto, for dessert as your whole personality drains out through your left heel and you find yourself in an agitated trance 24-7, not to mention fat.”
I took some liberties with the second half of Friedman’s quote.
I’ve written about my addiction before, but I think I finally hit bottom. At least I hope that was bottom. My only goal for January 25, 2017 was to stay off the internet. Because my laptop has been used primarily for monitoring Twitter in recent weeks, yesterday I did not touch my laptop. When I had thoughts that required expression, I wrote them on pieces of paper with a pen. I read stuff on paper. I finished Ian McGuire’s The North Water, a novel full of pus, blood, sodomy, and frostbite in which the protagonist shelters in the hollowed-out carcass of a freshly-killed polar bear. It’s gross. It’s great. Leonardo DiCaprio should star. Then I started and almost finished Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House which is one weird, excellent book.
When I came across words I didn’t know, I walked over to the dictionary and looked them up. Dimity, in case you’ve ever wondered, is a kind of thin fabric with checks traced by thicker thread. The curtains in Hill House are dimity. I wrote down passages I admired in my notebook, like I did in the olden days.
|If your handwriting reflects your character, does that mean that by improving your handwriting you improve your character? Asking for a friend.|
I read the newspaper, on paper and cut out bits that I liked and taped them into my notebook like I did in the olden days.
|There was a really cool story in the food section of the NYT yesterday about the beauty of burned foods. It included a recipe for burned toast soup, but I am most curious about that kazandibi.|
When I felt bad about accomplishing absolutely nothing and started spiraling into a self-loathing existential crisis, I reminded myself that my only goal for January 25, 2017 was to stay off the internet and congratulated myself on how well I was doing. I looked at some cookbooks and remember how delightful that can be. I decided I wanted to make and eat Gabrielle Hamilton’s lamb shoulder with a celeriac remoulade and some juniper sorbet for dessert.That meal is happening tonight. I felt more and more and more like myself. My powers of concentration returned. Everything slowed down. It was wonderful. It was such a relief.
At the end of the day I allowed myself 20 minutes on Twitter, just enough time to catch up with my boyfriend Keith Olbermann and watch clips of an ABC interview with this sad, bloated old man who was lying about stuff that no one cares about but him. I discovered I had already lost my taste for it. On a food diet, you get hungrier and hungrier. On a Donald Trump diet, you feel better and better. Today, I am positively jubilant.
To quote the protagonist of The Haunting of Hill House, “The warm wind would come down the city street where she walked and she would be touched with the cold little thought, I have let more time go by. . .”
Time goes by no matter what, I just don’t want it to go by as I slump on the sofa in an agitated trance, eating Honey Nut Cheerios and reading about our pathetic president.