On-screen Anger, Distraction and the Benefits of Internet Fasting

A person looking at a mobile phone in front of a 5G tower.

Sometimes I write my column by hand before I type it in. I sit at a tattered writing desk, the kind that sits on a table top. Cover opens on a hinge with space underneath for writing paper, pens, envelopes, and stamps; Closed, provides a smooth, slanted writing surface.

Categorizing thoughts into words behaves somewhat like my ballpoint pens, starting quietly and gradually flowing smoothly from hand to page. When I’m settled, the hand and pen might surprise me with some utterance, some choice of word or analogy that I didn’t expect. There may or may not be music playing.

This piece, however, is as I write on a laptop, my eyes staring at the screen light, and my fingers pounding the keyboard instead of drawing letters with a pen. The sentences initially stop, like a browser running slowly on startup, and when they start, a pulse of light shoots out from the mobile. I’m checking it out; Of course I do. What if it was something important?

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