Posted on

A place to disconnect from tech

A place to disconnect from tech A place to disconnect from tech

We’ve all been told to look forward to a long, “dark,” COVID-infested winter. Long, dark winters are nothing new here in Wisconsin, but a lot of us are still getting used to the whole pandemic thing. As I wrote about a couple weeks ago, even the family gatherings normally associated with Thanksgiving and Christmas are in doubt this year.

So, this means a lot more time stuck inside with just immediate family (in my case, it’s my wife and I). Yes, you can always do Zoom calls and FaceTime chats with extended family and friends who are miles away, but it’s really never the same as the in-person experience.

This means you have to “make your own fun,” as you might remember your parents telling you when you were bored as a kid. Luckily for us, we’re the first generation of humans to live through a major pandemic with Netflix, You-Tube, Amazon Prime and other assorted online diversions and distractions. There’s always a new show or movie to check out, and if you’ve already watched all the shows and movies you’re interested in, you can watch in-depth analysis and explanations of those same shows and movies by someone with a YouTube channel.

Without exaggerating, there is probably enough online entertainment out there to tide you over for 1,000 years worth of quarantines, safer-at-home orders and really cold days. But, even though I love a lot of this stuff, I often feel the need to disconnect for awhile and enjoy some non-digital activities.

That’s why I’m glad to have what I call my “20th Century Room.” It’s a spare bedroom where I’ve crammed all my analog technology, including a record-player, VCR, tape deck, bookshelf and stacks of newspapers, magazines and comic books. I can still get a Wi-Fi signal in there, so it’s not like the room is completely shut off from the internet, but I try to keep it as a sanctuary for a bygone era when not everything was online. The only thing that’s missing is a nice lounge chair to sit in when cracking open an old book or throwing some vinyl on the turntable. I don’t spend as much time in there as I’d like, and when it comes to my collection of written media, I have often take one or two books or magazines into the living room to read, but then I’m exposing myself to the temptations of television and Chromebook.

I think everyone should have a little corner of their world that is untouched by the ever-present internet. Whether it’s for spiritual, emotional or psychological reasons, I think it’s healthy to have a place firmly outside the World Wide Web. When you take time to unplug, it’s amazing what you can rediscover. And, don’t worry, Netflix will still be there when you get back.