When I shovel snow, I sometimes pretend I'm on the ice planet from The Empire Strikes Back.
I know I'm not the only one.
I'll admit that when I was a kid, I hated shoveling because it took me away from important matters like Star Wars figures in the snow, television watching, and sledding. I pretty much had to be forced to do it.
I don't so much mind shoveling now. As I've gotten older, I've started to look at it as an extra opportunity for exercise. It breaks up all of the sitting around that I do on a snow day.
And snow days need to be treated with care. Though they are a great excuse to take a break from my usual life, I have to be careful or the internet will suck up the entire day.
The Internet is greedy.
It wants all of my attention.
It wants me to sit in the chair so long that my back and neck start hurting from my lazy sitting posture, my knees get stiff from being still for so long, and my foot falls asleep from my legs being crossed.
It wants me to surf from one site to another, learn about the manufacturing process and history of the Tervis tumbler, compulsively check email, and stare way too long at my Facebook crushes.
It wants me to read all of the reviews for a book I'm not going to buy.
It wants me to know how much Indian corn must be in a recipe to qualify a whiskey as a bourbon.
It wants me to watch a video of puppies learning to howl and check out a slide show called “Ten 80's action stars that you've forgotten about.”
Once I get started down the information superhighway with no scheduled appointments to stop me, it's really difficult to stop.
Like Admiral Ackbar said, “It's a trap!”
That's right. It IS a trap. And I have to think about it like that.
I have to watch my thoughts which try to trick me into going online. Because it's never, “Just for a minute.”
Maybe I'll just quickly check Facebook. It's a trap!
I wonder what the weather forecast is. It's a trap!
How old is that chick from Revolution? It's a trap!
Can I drink the water in Thailand? It's a trap!
How much water would I have to drink to cause water intoxication? It's a trap!
For me, if I want to accomplish things, or even just get around to doing fun, non-internet things, I need to do them before I start puttering around online.
That's not to say that the internet isn't an essential tool for connecting with the modern world. I find it valuable in so many ways. I just need to manage it so that that I avoid the trap of browsing things that really aren't that important to me in the larger scope of my life.
I'd hate to miss my chance to visit the ice planet.