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March 5, 2012

I don’t think I would have had the nerve to do it purposely. But God gives us what we need. This weekend he crossed a couple of wires downstairs and POOF! Instant Internet Holiday.

Friday night wasn’t too bad. That afternoon, for the first time in months, I had checked out library books for myself.

Just for fun. Sort of. One was fiction about a girl with cerebral palsy. But it was fiction. Which is a step in the right direction.

The other was non-fiction, a work book. Sort of. Last fall at a history conference, Erik Larson’s The Devil in the White City was held out as exemplary narrative history. (Code for scholarly jealousy: they said he did good research and sold zillions of copies that people read on the beach.) So I figured I should read it.

Friday night I sat down and read the first third of Sharon Draper’s Out of My Mind, feeling a little guilty for curling up on the couch with a story. But everything pending on my to-do list required an Internet connection. What else could I do?

Saturday morning I came downstairs and reflexively turned on the computer. I was disappointed that the Internet connection had not yet been restored. But I had children off school and laundry that needed washing and one child with a stomach virus. AND a book waiting for me on the couch when I finished up everything else.

So I did. I went to bed Saturday night with the satisfaction of having gulped a book like I used to do when I was a kid reading a book a day during the summer. (Out of My Mind is a pretty good story, too. Good enough to own and read aloud to the girls.)

Sunday. Still no Internet. Laundry, clean. Menus, planned. House, clean. Except for vacuuming. And I couldn’t do that with Joy sleeping off her virus. All day long, poor thing.

So I started Devil in the White City and finished it last night. What can I say? Larson took a the story of the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago and livened it up by twining in the story of the historical serial killer who lived down the street. When a historian who can write finds a story like that, who needs fiction? People will read it on the beach.

This morning my husband walked upstairs from his office, where the Internet boxes reside. He held up his hands, shrugged, and said, “It must have been a loose connection. This morning it’s working.”

And so my unplugged idyll came to an abrupt end. I’m having a hard time getting back into the whole tyranny of the Internet thing. I feel like I just took a long, relaxing trip.

Except this vacation, I came home to clean laundry.

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