Apr 04, 2013, 03:43AM

Failure to Unplug

Who tweets from a rainforest?

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 Went away last week for spring break. First time traveling somewhere fun without kids in five years: Puerto Rico. Also for the first time since I started here at Splice a year ago, it meant taking "time off" and unplugging.

I work. I like working. Without complaint, I worked on Christmas day so there would be articles on this website the next day. I was nervous at the idea of not working. I think the word “workaholic” is silly, but I will say that I am very bad at not working.

I bought flip flops and got a pedicure in order to try to focus on visiting an island while there was snow on the ground back at home. I stalked low tide times, since sea glass hunting at one of the world's best sea glass beaches was part of the reason I was going. I bought sunscreen, and told readers on my blog that I'd be back Monday.

I thought about how egomaniacal and ridiculous it was to think the Internet (i.e. my social media followers on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest etc) would give a shit or even notice I was gone.

And then, I started this journal because it's just in the Notes section of my phone so it doesn't count as writing.

Day One: After the last “clap” closed of my laptop (the maryMAC). Surveyed remaining apple devices: have iPad and charger, check, iPhone and charger, check. Will there be phone service in Puerto Rico? Wi-Fi? Oh, God, they have Internet there, right? I reassure myself that Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory and therefore there is no way there would be a lack of Internet on (technically) American soil. Planes suck for having lame snacks.

Day Two: I have better AT&T service here than I do on the continental US. So now the challenge: how many times a day to check email/Facebook/Twitter or put a beautiful island pic up on Instagram and annoy everyone? I think about how I feel when FB "friends" are somewhere cool. I like seeing cool pictures of other places. I hate seeing 262 of them in my feed in a day. I settle on twice a day to check e-mail—morning and night, and a few Instagrams a day, fed to Facebook and Twitter.

Day Three: I tweet from a rainforest, so I officially fail at unplugging. I hate the Notes function on my iPhone, so oddly not being able to write in my usual fashion is irritating me more than not seeing social media on the computer screen where I'm used to spending hours each day. Also, work e-mail keeps coming even when you take off from work, and if I'm on Twitter of Facebook, my writing clients think maybe I could just answer a quick e-mail. Lesson: if you want to unplug, you'd really have to do it 100 percent from everything. And I think that would drive me insane.

Day Four: One way to avoid the Internet is to leave the phone in your hotel room and go to the beach, sea glass hunting and to the spa.

Day Five: Get me the fuck home to my laptop. Plan: save money to buy a new lighter, faster one, and never leave home without it again.

Conclusion: I’m a douchebag and a moron. What’s wrong with me? I mean, of course I had fun and everything and I ate some awesome things that are made out of plantains mashed up and of course had rum drinks. And yes, I found amazing sea glass and enjoyed time with my husband away without the kids. It was a great trip, and over too soon. Maybe four-five days isn’t enough time to stop caring about work piling up. But when I got home and flipped open the maryMAC again, I breathed a sigh of relief. Time to get back to work.

Mary McCarthy (@marymac) blogs at Pajamas and Coffee.

  • yuppp. I just don't understand people who can't keep themselves from checking their phones. I often have people get mad at me for not texting them back when I've taken a nap or just not looked at my phone for 4 or 5 hours. Isn't that insane? Having computers was bad enough, but having these SUPER computers IN OUR POCKETS has made people zombified, just a little.

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  • Naps over texting FTW!

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