Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Thursday, April 18

Gapers Block

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r / April 24, 2012 10:11 AM

I often wonder what people in crappy office jobs did before the internet. I kind of don't want to find out, but I think I'd be surprised by how much exercise and free time I had to finish non-screen related projects.

vise77 / April 24, 2012 10:33 AM

Hell yes. I would love to if only society would let me (not sure what job I could have given my skills and experience). Bring it on. That includes smartphones, and that includes not knowing all baseball scores right away--a pretty big deal for me.

Andrew Huff / April 24, 2012 11:08 AM

The Internet has been my full-time job (or jobs) since 2006. I don't know what I'd do with myself for a month.

Probably get a lot of pleasure reading done.

yaj / April 24, 2012 3:00 PM

No. Way. It is my primary means of communication, entertainment and research.

John / April 24, 2012 3:32 PM

I wish I could, but I know there is no way I could go one week much less a whole month. The question reminds me of something a college prof. asked the class 2o years ago, but instead of going without the internet the question was if you could go without talking for one month? Back then everyone in the class couldn't imagine not talking for one month, but today I would find that a lot easier than going without the 'Net.

Greg / April 24, 2012 3:53 PM

What's "The Internet" anymore? In addition to traditional computer usage, I think you'd also have to rule out:

*nearly every wireless phone, smart or dumb

*any media-on-demand service (no streaming; no DVR).

Assuming the exercise allowed work-necessary inter/intranet use (email, databases), I could probably do it.

(what did people in crappy office jobs do before the Internet? They smoked!)

Emily / April 24, 2012 4:55 PM

Give up the pleasure aspects of the internet for a month? Sure. Give up the employment-side of the internet? Not a chance. 85% of what I do runs on the 'tubes. Hell, my entire industry freaks out when there's a hiccup that lasts a nano-second, so...not so much.

I do find it nice to have periodic mandatory internet-vacations when Comcast fails me. Definitely a reality check that life *can* exist offline.

Tracie / April 24, 2012 9:44 PM

I recently watched the PBS series "Cranford" which took place in England in the late 19th century. I remember my initial thought was, what did these people do before television? Well, they visited with their neighbors, were incredibly involved in their community, gardened, read, cooked, and created things that we now consider "crafts" (like making soap, candles,and quilts). Not saying we should all go back to that, but there was something that seemed very satisfying about not having so much information or staring at a computer screen.

Mike / April 24, 2012 10:37 PM

I'm 39. I think there are many wonderful things about "the internet" but I'm so glad I grew up without it. I'm glad I had to go to the library to find answers to questions. I'm glad I had to go to the cool record store downtown to get Slanted and Enchanted. Now, with that said, I'm glad I can shop online. I work in interactive marketing, so I have a job thanks to the internet.

But some of it is still just a bit much. The information overload, the passive and non-comittal behavior and communication of some of my friends. And the kids who've grown up with it ... I have young cousins who have 800 Facebook friends and are used to getting whatever information or content they desire with no effort. My fiance teaches Spanish and has to constantly deal with kids using Google Translate (she always warns them that she will catch them but they still do it because it is so tempting). Some (not all) of them constantly complain about how "hard" the work is and how they'll "never use it." Unbelievable. I probably would have tried the Google Translate thing too, but I never would have said shit like that to my teachers. (shakes cane)

If I could somehow take a month off work, I could go that month with logging in or on to anything. In June I'm spending a week in a national park. I'll have no cell phone signal, no T.V., no internet access. Can't wait. Walks, books, board games, pine trees, mountains, canoes, wine.

Spook / April 24, 2012 11:53 PM

Calling Snake! Calling Snake! Calling Snake Plissken to take us back into the darkness! Calling Snake Plissken!

charlie / April 25, 2012 2:45 PM

I'd like to say yes...but I think it would be easiest if I was someplace rather remote with no access ;-)

eee / April 25, 2012 4:05 PM

I think I could do it, yeah. All of the free time that I used to use for online time now goes towards my baby. So I have no free time after work for being online. (Granted, not being able to check e-mail during the day when I'm NOT with my kid, that would be harder...)

I'd finally catch up on that cross-stitch project on which I'm woefully behind, though.

Cheryl / April 26, 2012 11:35 AM


amyc / April 26, 2012 12:29 PM

I started doing "unplugged Sundays" a while ago, and I definitely enjoy it, but it's pretty hard not to check email and watch cat videos even one day a week.

vanessa / April 26, 2012 3:59 PM

In Dec I'll be going on my 3 week honeymoon to Fiji, NZ, and Australia. I will be doing my damnedest to at the very least not use FB or check my email. This will probably be easier for my fiance. But I'm definitely going to try it.

I like the idea of "Unplugged Sundays" too. That might be something I need to start doing.

Wilbs / April 28, 2012 12:03 AM


Jason / May 1, 2012 3:47 PM

I've done it for nearly a month before (about 3 weeks). I came back to it because its a staple of my job and because I'm addicted. But the real-world trumps the virtual-world any day. It felt like the 90s again. I had a good time in the 90s.

paul / May 2, 2012 1:56 AM

I just spent nearly 3 weeks without my cable internet at home due to a line problem. (Comcast anyone?)

While I have it at a part-time worksite, and can Hotspot with my phone, not having a constant WiFi connection on a full keyboard, was annoying, but nothing that left me shivering with withdrawal. And sadly, didn't leave me with enough extra time to catch up on reading or sleep.

I'm sure it hurt my work during that time and annoyed some clients. The worst part was explaining why I couldn't respond to requests in full, within minutes. Wish the same clients could explain why they don't pay their invoices that way.

shmi / May 24, 2012 11:32 AM

I would welcome it.

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