I’ve stopped looking at the internet before breakfast. I know it doesn’t sound like much of a revolution but you’d be amazed at how much happier I am.
I found my morning routine began with me waking up and drowsily grab my iPad to wake up a bit by scrolling through stuff. I didn’t realise at first, but I began to feel inundated by all this terrifying news I couldn’t do anything about… Fukushima is leaking, bedroom tax is looming, Indonesia is burning.
So many petitions so little time! My signature can only change the world so many times.
An iPad is amazing because you can access anything… instantly. Right there in bed. But they’re awful because you access everything… instantly… all the time. Right there in bed. An incessant stream of everything that’s wrong with the world and out of your control. Like having a 20 minute voicemail from your mum… as your alarm clock.
I don’t blame technology. Blaming technology is wrong. The wheel wasn’t bad technology just because we used it to move cannons around.
Information at your fingertip is great; brilliant idea. Much better than a town cryer!
But you have to give it limits… After the invention of the town cryer, no one was inviting the guy in to shout bad news at them while they tried to wake up.
“GOOD MORNING! YOU HAVE TO PAY MORE TAX!”
“What, now? I’m still trying to get the sharp bits of yesterday’s mascara out of my eyes.”
“DAVID CAMERON FUCKED A PIG!”
“Already? I haven’t even pee’d yet. I may not agree with his politics but I’ll give him this, he is efficient.”
“THERE ARE REFUGEES EVERYWHERE.”
“Can one of them bring me some coffee?”
There’s a reason paper boys leave the thing in the garden.
You should have to have trousers on to be able to see a politician’s face… and so should they. Even their spouses. It’d stop them breeding.
Social media is always one of two things: terrible world news or someone else’s great personal news. No one wants to see either of those things before caffeine. You need a buffer to look at your real world first.
Facebook in particular just filled me with insecurity about my own life. I don’t think it’s healthy to be able to compare the reality of your life with the published version of someone else’s. Looking at someone else having a pub lunch with their smiling two year old while you wipe your kid’s shit off the back of it’s neck is not an accurate comparison.
I get to the gym for the first time in a month and feel awesome*, then log on to Facebook and see some dickhead I went to school with has just finished his 8th marathon. Suddenly I wonder what the point of ever attending the gym is… I may as well just burn it down.
Thank god it’s a relatively new invention or we’d never have got anywhere… Imagine being one of those lunatics dragging rocks from Wales to Salisbury to make Stonehenge. Everyone’s feeling brilliant about it…
“Oh mate, it is going to be the best henge anyone’s ever made.”
“Are you sure, Dan? ‘Cos, it’s a lot of effort.”
“Yes, mate - no one’s ever done anything like this before. Promise.”
“Well, yes, why would they? It’s baffling and weird.”
“Shut up, it’s going to be mega when the gift shop is finished.”
“Oh bloody hell, have we got to bring more rock for that too?”
“Look, stop worrying. We’re doing an amazing thing here. We’re on top of the bloody world.”
“It’s a circle of stones, Dan.”
“Yeah, but it’s massive… and mysterious, and everyone forever is going to say we were incredible engineers.”
“What’s an engineer?”
“We are, I’ve just invented it.”
“Are you sure they’re not going to think we’re mental?”
“No, we’re pioneers.”
“What’s a pioneer?”
“Oh for God’s sake…”
“Well, alright then… I guess it all seems worth it if we’ll be the first ones…”
“This is Llewellyn. It’s the guy we bought the rock off.”
“Have you seen Facebook today? Some guy in Egypt’s got about 1 million likes for this giant rock pyramid he’s built. It’s amazing. Best thing I’ve ever seen.”
“I’m going home.”
“What about the gift shop?!”
I’m never going to not need or marvel at the internet… but I do feel happier to have been able to step back a bit and put my priorities back in order. My world first, then the wider one. Without that overwhelming sense of powerlessness caused by a never ending stream of issues, I feel like I have the control to pick one and really make a difference. I might sign a petition and donate a fiver.
*by awesome I obviously mean horrific, nauseas and ripped in various muscles.