In this space, and in every other space that I've occupied over the last decade, I've decried the tragic amount of time we all spend staring into these glowing orbs, waiting for something to happen in our computers, while everything that's actually happening is happening out the window.
I've updated Henry David Thoreau's quote about a man who eagerly checks his (e-)mail not having heard from himself in a long time. I've said that God intended us for greater things than checking the number of hits to our blog. And I've quoted Kurt Vonnegut, who asserted before he died that "electronic communities build nothing."
What was I afraid of? I think I finally know.
Remember years ago, you'd go to the library on some rush research project, and there'd be an old guy sitting there with a cup of coffee and a newspaper on a wooden stick, slowly turning the pages, clearly trying to make the Cleveland Plain Dealer last the whole morning?
You felt sorry for that old guy. Clearly, not enough was happening in his life. Clearly, your life, and everybody else's life, was more dynamic.
You thought to yourself, "Gee, what a crying shame. Reading that newspaper every day, that old retired guy is acquiring so much general knowledge, just at the moment in his life when the knowledge can do him, and the rest of the world, the least good."
And you thought you imagined him trying to look as if he didn't really wish he was needed somewhere instead of trying to give his wife a sweet respite from himself.
But now, in the prime of your life, sitting at your computer, skipping from Twitter to HuffPo to nytimes.com and back, you are that old guy with the newspaper on a stick, thinking quite seriously about signing out a typewriter from the media center and writing a letter to the editor.