Posted by: GeekHiker | August 24, 2010

Computer Overload

For the past couple of days, I’ve been thinking about writing a post on which I would muse about where my time has gone.  It never quite came together.

Not that the time-crunch isn’t a real factor, mind you.  It very much is.

I rolled out of that certification test thinking that I’d have all kinds of additional time on my hands.  Instead, I’ve been putting in the OT hours at work, busy hanging out with friends, catching up on my reading and the like.  I frequently end up at the end of the day, a day on which I swore I’d sit down and do some writing, instead thinking “its 11:00 and I’ve got work tomorrow, I should head to bed.”

But, I realized over the last weekend, time isn’t the only factor.

I’ve come to realize that a bigger factor may, in fact, be the computer itself.

And, yes, that’s coming from a certified geek.

It comes, I think, from the culmination of a whole bunch of things right now.  I’m currently shopping for new workstations at work.  I’ve started studying for the next certification test (if you can consider having only read chapter 1 to be “studying”).  I’ve got e-mail on my phone, social networking sites I never use but still vying for my attention, text messages flying back and forth.

I’ve worked with computers most of my life, but I don’t think I’ve ever felt quite this level of being surrounded, nay, inundated by them.  Between thinking about computers all day at work (not just the day-to-day issues, but the very mechanics of the machines themselves), then coming home to study yet more about them at night, the computer has morphed away from being just a tool.  Rather than just being a part of life, computers have started to become my life.

Okay, that sounds rather more dramatic than things actually are.  I still see my friends, get outdoors when I can (though not hiking, thank you frakking plantar fasciitis), read or even watch the occasional DVD.  So “all the time” hasn’t quite become the literal state of my life.  Yet.

At the close of the day though, having spent nearly the entire time staring at LCD screens already, when I face the prospect of going back to the computer again to answer e-mails or, Gawd, write a post, I feel a bit ill.  I don’t WANT to stare at the screen anymore, or put my hand on the mouse or my fingers on the keyboard.

I just want to turn the bloody thing off.

Watch some non-interactive TV.

Read a book.

Hell, even clean the house.

Yes, I’ve reached the point where cleaning the house has more appeal than spending another couple of hours on the computer.

I’m probably not the first geek to reach this point.  Maybe kids younger than I, the ones who grew up with iPods in their hands, will never experience this.  I’m not sure.

I think, though, that’s the hard thing about computers: they’ve become so ingrained in our lives.  I don’t know if this is something new and unique, as my grasp of history isn’t as great as I would like it to be, but I find that I ponder if it is.  Factory workers never came home with their machines at night the way I do to a computer little different from the one I use at work all day.  Office workers 30 years ago didn’t haul their IBM Selectrics home after a long day at the office.  For the most part, for most of human history (I’m amateurishly guessing), the tools you used at work weren’t the ones you used at home.

Well, except maybe for cooks.

Now, though, it’s all tied together.  Work, home, errands, banking, entertainment: they’re all tied to the computer nowadays.  Hell, if Apple has its way, even the physical book will disappear and you’ll read the latest novel on an iPad.

Which is a shame.  There are few things I can guarantee in life, but if you drop a book and an iPad with a copy of that book from five feet up, I can guarantee that the paper one is more likely to operate perfectly afterwards.

All of which is why, after 12 hours of dealing with computers, I find myself pushing away from the desk at night.  Not answering the e-mails from friends I know I should be answering.  Not writing the post that’s been on my mind all day.  Not editing the photos from whatever little trip I’ve managed to squeeze in lately.

I’d rather be spending time with friends over a beer.

Or driving the truck to the mountains.

Or reading a book.

One that doesn’t glow from a backlit screen.



  1. I’m not a historian either but it seems to me that we’ve come full circle. Before the industrial revolution you usually lived in or over your workshop. You lived and breathed your craft. This was true also for farmers who lived on their farms and could really never get away from it. The industrial revolution separated our work from our leisure.

    It seems computers have returned us to the 1800s.

  2. I totally get this. I’ve been less motivated to do stuff on the computer b/c work is so intense. I’m not sure when I’ll get back into some sort of groove. If I come visit, we can sit around and read, how about that?

  3. Well said! I have rebeling from the computer as well in the evenings. I’ve been crocheting and reading Isaac Asimov. I’m finding it superbly relaxing!

  4. Ah! You’re living!

    Not that blogging is anti-life, but, you know, doing more than one thing with one’s time is a good thing!

    Anyway, if you want to keep posting during this time-scarce period, toss up some photos before starting or at the end of the day at work. You vast audience is diverted with pretty pictures, and you get a break.

  5. Ha! That happens to me, and I don’t have to be attached to a computer 8 hours every day! Embrace your computer overload and enjoy it, it’s so easy to get tied up to these things 🙂

  6. How’s your handwriting? Maybe you could just write posts in a notebook and scan the pages for us to read? 🙂

    You know, if this were a Stephen King story, you’d TURN INTO a computer at some point…

  7. I read this and instantly thought Assimilation! The Borg!

    Um, yeah…. 🙂

    I don’t work ‘with’ the ‘puter but now that I work ‘on’ one it does make it more difficult to sit down and write.

    The Boy may affect that as well. Poop! I’m one of those now… 😉

  8. I totally understand. I’ve been spending my evenings reading viking novels and tending my small garden just so I can escape daily life for a while, and being logged on to something.

    I do giggle when you say OT. Because then I think IT, OT, or OT for IT. OTIT. ITOT.

    Or maybe I need more time away from the computer too 😉

  9. Ay-men! I just spent the weekend with my phone off and it was the most glorious 72 hours of my life. My fingers were like Mel Gibson tolling about in kilts shouting about their freedom.

  10. Homer-Dog – At first I was in full agreement, but then it occurred to me: did the blacksmith leave his forge and “Anvil Enterprise” and go upstairs, only to start working with his “Anvil Home Edition”? Methinks not…

    Spleeness – I’m totally down for that idea!

    TGAW – hopefully I’ll get in a little reading (the non-IT kind) before this night is over!

    AbsurdBeats – if only you knew how much time I could easily spend in PhotoShop…

    Narami – I’ve tried, but just can’t seem to enjoy it!

    Mel Heth – Unfortunately, my handwriting is downright illegible…

    JustAGirl15 – You’ve crossed the line, my friend, never to return…

    MissMcCracken – So, maybe I should take up gardening?

    TheCoconutDiaries – I’m quite jealous! Having not been camping this year, I’ve always been in range of a cell tower…

  11. dude, so true. it’s become automatic to turn on my laptop, but then when i see all the stuff i need to respond to, i start doing time-wasters like watching tv shows or reading every comment attached to a random cnn story.
    aah yeah, our first world problems…

  12. You should definitely take up gardening! We can pass each other pictures of our efforts. 🙂

  13. BlakSpring – I know those time-wasters all too well. Needless to say I’ve been avoiding FaceBook at all costs…

    MissMcCracken – I’d love to, but I think my landlord would frown upon it…

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