Last week I discovered the hazards of packing one’s laptop in the front pocket of one’s suitcase. And then checking said suitcase. No, my laptop didn’t get stolen (Alaska Airlines, if anyone’s keeping track), it got squished, or at least that’s what I’m assuming. When I next fired it up to catch up on email, the screen lit up, but all I saw was a vast expanse of gray/white stripes. Doh!
I feared the worst (some breakdown of the display portion of the motherboard) but when I hooked it up to my TV screen it worked fine. Whew! That left either the cable or the screen. I took it all apart and the cable looked fine and was connected (thanks, Lenovo for requiring an almost complete disassembly to get to the cable) so I figured it was either hidden cable damage, or more likely, damage to the LCD screen, since the screen would have been quite vulnerable in my suitcase. Sorry, LCD screen – I didn’t mean you any harm!
Between studying for airplane school tests and working at Seafair (check my twitter feed for some pics), I didn’t have time to follow up until halfway through the weekend, at which time I hooked the laptop up to the TV again, and, using my piano as a makeshift desk, went online and found a replacement screen. This means that I have been laptop-less for about a week. And, it has been interesting, mostly because of what it taught me about the need (or lack thereof) for constant connection.
While I’m in a in a laptop-having state, one of my preferred unwinding activities is reading online articles and keeping up with Facebook. I was able to do a little of this on my phone, but it’s not as satisfying, so I had to find other ways to entertain myself. Enter … books. Now, I always have at least one book going, but most days my reading happens when I’m in bed, waiting to fall asleep. During my laptop-free week, I read books a lot more and was reminded how much I love reading fiction recreationally. Online articles, even long-form ones, just aren’t the same.
The other thing I realized is that when my online access is proscribed by external limits, like the time available to use the computer lab at school, I have to be more deliberate about my online time. I’m writing this blog post from a school computer, and after I finish this, I’ll probably do a quick check of email to see if there’s anything I need to answer right now. But then, I’ll log off and go home. I won’t drift over to Facebook or Slate or Cheezburger because I would feel silly staying extra time on campus just to surf the web.
So … lessons learned. I’ve enjoyed my week away from constant online access and I have learned a few things about how to better spend my time – lessons that will carry over once my laptop is back up and running.