living in the real world


Lately, I've felt a little too much like a denizen of the Matrix...jacked into a virtual world via my laptop, while the rest of me floats along, disengaged from the physical world.

That's not good.

Not that I don't enjoy and get tangible benefits from my online interactions. From the new colleagues I'm finding in the world of social software, to the friends and family I'm seldom co-located with, it gives me valuable connections and conversations. As long as there's balance, it's good. But lately there hasn't been.

This weekend, I got embroiled in two simultaneous group negative energy exchanges via e-mail. One I've already talked about; the other is pretty boring work-related stuff. But by Sunday afternoon, I felt as though the computer was sucking all the positive energy out of me.

bette.jpgHappily, I do have a life not on the screen. So Sunday at 6pm I closed my laptop, and headed off to the RIT gym to meet Elouise. After a brief workout, we spent several hours coloring our hair (we had better experiences with L'Oreal Couleur Experte than Meg did, I think; I went with Butterscotch Crème, while Elouise opted for Caramel Glaze) and painting our nails. (A poor woman's spa experience, to be sure, but it was fun.) Then we headed off to an AIDS benefit at a local club, where we were treated to a wonderful drag show. The performance I enjoyed most was to the sounds of Bette Midler's wonderful "I'm Beautiful (Dammit)," from her classic Bathhouse Betty album. (I bought it last night from the Apple Music Store...pretty cool. More on that later.)

One of the things about drag shows is how they make you really think about what constitutes femininity. There was a drag queen on the dance floor--but not in the show--who was one of the most stunning creatures I've ever seen. S/he was graceful, elegant, captivating. It's a little depressing to look at someone and think to yourself "that man is a more beautiful woman than I'll ever be!"

But it was an excellent break from virtuality. The next morning, over coffee, a colleague asked me if I was okay. "Fine," I said. "But...why do you ask?" "You dropped out of the discussion on xxxxx pretty abruptly last night...I thought something might be wrong."

No, I thought. Something was right. Taking a break, knowing when to break the connection, that's important. "Step away from the keyboard. Now. Nobody has to get hurt."


I definitely agree that sometimes you just need to force yourself out of the virtual and into the reality. Drag shows are very, very cool too, but don't forget, Gay men have to pride themselves on something, so being able to be more of "a woman" than most women might be what he values himself most on. :)

Just my opinion though. But please, for my sake at least, never permanently put down the virtual world! haha

I have to believe that many people feel the need to disconnect once in a while. They just tend not to blog about it, for, um, obvious reasons... ;)

I certainly agree with this sentiment (need to go offline occasionally). I've just returned from Lancaster where the town's only internet cafe (well, a pub with a couple of computers in the corner) had temporarily lost its internet connection due to a screw-up by BT.

I also tried to see if my productivity would go up if I went on a three week sabbatical from reading weblogs.

Didn't really work. I just read more stuff in print and didn't update my weblog.

But taking a week off (from work and from the internet) to meet up with family in a smallish town in the North of England was really good. So I fully concur with your sentiment.

Life, if you face it with a smile, tends to be good.

Your night out sounds enormously fun.

I agree about getting away, having a life outside the keyboard. My road trips and hikes are this for me, but I'll have to admit, I would have also enjoyed the drag show, hair coloring, and Bette Midler.

S/he is a wonderful shorthand for the screen. It gave me a good chuckle.

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This page contains a single entry published on April 29, 2003 7:06 PM.

ridiculously easy group-unforming was the previous entry in this blog.

music appreciation is the next entry in this blog.

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