I myself have been guilty on this vacation of being on the Internet too much, writing and editing and not taking time to just let things be. I have made a decision though: this will be the last thing I write or edit until I return to the real world (whatever that is now). I do not have to write, to answer emails, to return business calls because I am on vacation. I am away, and I want it to be like the old way when "away" meant out of reach, out of touch, and liking every peaceful minute of it.
I recall when I was taking courses in Paris back in the early 1990s, and I was totally disconnected from home. To get a letter out to my parents meant waiting about a week for them to get it and then another week for a reply letter. I definitely looked forward to those hard copy reassurances that my folks missed me. I sent them postcards if I took a side trip to Amsterdam or Cologne, and once in a while I would stand on line in the evening waiting for a payphone outside my flat on the Avenue des Gobelins to make a call home. All of these connections took time and effort and, quite frankly, they seemed to mean more to me back then.
How impersonal is a text message? Even an email seems to take more time and thought, but a text is like a throwaway line from the ether. I see my teenage nieces and nephews texting all the time, the muscles in their thumbs bulging like an Olympic weightlifter's biceps. They want to see their friends, they text. They want to say hello, they text. They want to get a pizza, and so on. I don't imagine they would even consider picking up a land line and making an old-fashioned phone call like I used to do on a Friday night to see if my friends wanted to go out. Those days are long gone along with phone booths, phone books, and fingers that did the walking. We're all thumbs now, it seems, and everyone seems positively giddy about it.
But back to my vacation and getting away from it all. I am turning off my cell phone, putting away the laptop, and I am unplugging myself from the world. I don't want to know about what's happening in New York or LA or at the London Olympics. I don't want to know about how the Mets are doing, how Jets training camp is going, or if the Knicks made another trade. I don't want to know about the neighbor's barbecue or my uncle's block party, and no one back there needs to know every detail of my vacation either. They're not going to get a tweet out of me, that's for sure.