Research has been done on how the internet affects us, but because I don’t use the internet much now, I can’t google those experts’ opinions and reproduce their wisdom here. What I can report is how being disconnected has changed the pattern of my day and my life. Take my morning: I used to turn on the computer when I got up; with two children to get ready for school, what else could one squeeze into the craze of breakfast-cooking, lunch-packing, tooth-brushing, homework-hunting, but a few minutes of surfing the internet over a becalming cup of coffee? How happily surprised I was when I was proved wrong. The five or seven minutes spent reading some publishing gossip or an acquaintance’s acquaintance retweeting a joke turned out to be just the right amount of time for a chapter of War and Peace or an intense battle in the Iliad… .
There is a downside of staying disconnected — I have accumulated too many emails, unread and unreturned; I have neglected people from time to time. I have relaxed my schedule a little, though if the internet functioned before as an addictive distraction, I now have the opposite problem: more than ever, I am addicted to reading, and the moment I have to get on to the internet I become impatient. But these symptoms, at least in my case, are happily relished.