I’m : a programmer, writer, podcaster, geek, and coffee enthusiast.

The computer as a burden

Tiff and I are going on a week-long cruise for our honeymoon in 9 days. People keep telling me, “It will be so nice to be completely offline, unreachable, and disconnected.” Then they relate a story about how they went on vacation or something and had no cellular reception and no computer, and it was awesome.

This seems to be a prevalent feeling. To most people, the computer is an annoying tool that they reluctantly use because their job requires it, and mobile phones are a way for their boss to reach them wherever they are, creating an expectation of constant availability for “working”.

I’ve never viewed my connected technology this way. Yes, computers and phones are a way for me to be connected to my work. But they’re also my play, my hobby, my leisure, my education, my exposure to society, and my enlightenment. I like this connection.

When I wake up, I use the computer. During my commute, I use the computer and the phone. My job is the computer. Before I go to sleep, I use the computer. On the weekends, I use the computer. When I’m waiting on line somewhere, I use the phone.

When I’m using the computer, I’m not just working. When I’m using the phone, I’m rarely talking or answering work emails. I’m having fun, I’m reading, and I’m learning. I love knowledge and information, and my ubiquitous connection to the rest of the world gives me an infinite supply.

Most people imagine their personal paradises as something like sipping drinks on a beach and doing nothing. To me, that would be hell. I’d rot into boredom and depression from mental atrophy.

I don’t even drink a lot because I don’t like my mind to have reduced capacity for very long. I get bored and want to go back to interesting things, but then I get frustrated if I’ve had more than about 2 drinks because I can’t concentrate on anything.

Too many people never use their brains after they’re done with schooling. They go into boring jobs doing boring things that never challenge them, then they go home and melt in front of the TV or mentally sedate themselves (from what?) in a bar. It’s a tragic waste of life.

To those people, “vacation” means a complete disconnection from the world and further mental sedation.

To me, “vacation” means having fun and experiencing new things or places without the burden of a schedule or much responsibility. I can even be productive, working on new ideas or crossing long-standing to-dos off the list. This often requires a computer, but that’s what I want — that can enable my vacation. And a week of this is all I ever want before getting bored and wanting to go back to work.