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How I Spent My Memorial Day Vacation

I am addicted to work.

Not work-work, like the work I get paid to do. Oh no. That would be too easy. No, I’m addicted to the work I don’t get paid to do. This is the grand epiphany I experienced during my long weekend sans Iggy the Powerbook (RIP).

I tried to keep busy. Friday after work I had drinks with one group of friends and then dinner and more drinks with another group (the second group composed primarily of skeptics, including my new friend: the atheist Craigslist fellow!). I spent Saturday riding my bike all over town on a Zelda-like mission to cure ailing Iggy–first to the library for research, then home to call repair places, then back to the library to get instructions for some DIY repair, then home to DIY, then to the hardware store for the right tools, then to Radio Shack for the same, then back home. By that time the library was closed and Iggy was no better, so I was faced with a few hours of alone time before I was due to meet a friend for a rocking show. No e-mails to answer, no blog to update, no forums to moderate, no topics to research, no essays to write, no music to listen to, no movies to watch, no Doctor Who to download, no Internet to surf. Just me.

Okay, just me and two little cats who thought that this was the greatest thing ever. Instead of my normal habit of working on the computer all the time, I would now be spending my free hours in the papasan reading and scratching bellies.

By Monday (the Memorial Day holiday, so the library was closed), I had grown accustomed to my new lifestyle, and damn it was nice. I spent most of the day lounging in front of breezy windows, working my way through God: A Biography, The End of Faith, and an awesomely immense Encylopedia of Mythology, all of which I picked up at the library book sale for $7 total. Then I cleaned my apartment, hung up a light, and started a big painting project. It occurred to me that these are the things I could do all the time if I gave up owning a computer and home Internet access. Would my life be better? Would I be happier?

I guess I’ll never know since I’m picking up my new MacBook tonight. What can I say … I miss Doctor Who.*

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*Yeah, yeah, and working on Skepchick.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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9 Comments

  1. I'm a dabbler in all things. I used to paint a lot as a stress reliever, but it's been awhile since I've had the time or energy. I don't claim to be any good, just good enough to amuse myself and decorate my walls.

  2. I'm happy that you made productive use of your time sans Iggy. I think that if I were to lose my laptop here I'd probably just sit in my desk chair and slowly rock back and forth, biting my nails.

    My comp. is literally ALL I've got entertainment-wise within thousands of miles. To talk to my family back home, I use Skype. To find out what's going on in foggy London-town, I surf the web. To stay in touch with my fellow MA students, Facebook and MySpace are the rule (since no one ever has any money on their cell phones). No TV means that podcasts and YouTube are my main source of entertainment. All I'd have left are books and…paper? I suppose I could write something, but I'm not sure I'd get up the nerve to do so!

    Also, I've got no little kitty cats to keep me company, which is a fact that occasionally makes me sad :(

    Although I suppose having no computer wouldn't be so bad now, since I've finally picked up the first part of the His Dark Materials trilogy and am getting fully engrossed within it. I'd probably read in my bed or the bath all day long.

    I would draw or paint, except that I'm completely incapable of rendering the things I see in my head into anything other than a mess of lines and lopsided, ill-proportioned squiggles on paper. More power to ya, Rebecca for exercising your creative side. Any chance we'll see any of your work here on the 'blarg?

  3. The sad thing is I saw "big painting project" and assumed Rebecca was putting some new colour on the walls. I have been on-an-off renovating my house for waaayyy too long.

    I second Expatria though – it would be great to see some of your work.

  4. Man, so THAT's what down-time is like… I knew there was some reason I wanted to turn the box off….must…try…to…reach…switch…heck, I'll just have to wait til mine dies from the summer heat.

    Hm, good to know what libraries are still around for, too :)

    @Expatria: Practice, practice, practice, and you'll be drawing sheep and countryside in no time :)

  5. Doubtful I'd post anything I paint here, because it's just so silly and basically just for me. But if I ever do something I find blog-worthy, I'll post it!

    And actually Monika, I'm planning to paint my apartment as well. I think I'm going with deep orange in the living room. That, though, required more effort than I was willing to invest this weekend.

  6. You mean like the painting series about your visit from The Marquis de Carabas? (OK, so that was MS paint, not real paint, but I think it counts as "art" anyway in some disturbed, twisted way).

  7. It's nice to get away from the computer. Once I actually get out of the apartment I don't miss it, but if I'm here it is too irresistible, which is why I don't care to own a laptop. My brother-in-law will probably bring his to Hawaii when we go, but I don't like using other people's PCs, so…

    Enjoy your new MacBook! I was going to buy a new computer with my fat bonus, but then quit my job, so I needed to pay fat bills with it instead. All I want in a PC is speed and the ability to draw or write on the screen. (I cannot draw with a mouse.)

    I painted most of my walls and vents when I broke up with somebody. I cranked up Beth Hart real loud and channelled my anger into color. Definitely came out better than the not-angry wall. :-)

    Expatria: I have four kittens that could keep you company! Of course, you'd have to adjust your sleeping schedule to their schedule, pick out water bottle caps from your shoes, and enjoy lots of other surprises. ;-)

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