I turned off my electricity this weekend and finally got some rest

00:52 Saturday — Main switch “OFF”; 10:00 Monday — “OFF” to “ON”

Last weekend I spent some time mulling over how I would set up my digital detox. I settled on the idea of letting the pre-paid electric meter run out. What I had missed was that after activating emergency credit, the system would just keep charging me, I think probably until I built up a £10 debt. Well, this weekend I took matters into my own hands.

“Digital Detox Winter 2017 — Extreme Edition"

What was it like? There were some quite obvious things: making a coffee took some planning, for example.

  1. light a fire
  2. get it really hot
  3. heat up water

This takes a lot longer than just boiling the kettle on the electric stove. I also figured out that I could save hot water overnight in my Stanley thermos and it would still be hot enough to use it for my morning shave.


Other things were more surprising: like how when the sun went down, at around 18:00, I got tired. That could just be because I have a built up sleep-debt going back fifteen or twenty years. Frankly, seeing this effect in action was a bit scary, and made me think I should be doing something similar every weekend for a while until I start to feel normal.

Gardening went well: I planted some “first early” potatoes and some alfalfa as a cover crop.

I sat down at the typewriter and touch-typed some notes in the dark. One of the themes there is how being “on” all the time has some very weird deep-psychology aspects to it. Like, being “available” is a role I got into as a kid. And even though I’ve tried to moderate that as an adult (like, by not having a phone, living in the country, working from home), it’s also morphed (in a manner you’d expect from Ballard or Lem) into a sort of advanced hypervigilance. This becomes even more aggravated under Trump:

“The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance.”

Still, that doesn’t say anything about being eternally glued to news-feeds.

And come Monday morning, after a weekend OFF: how do I feel? Great, actually. To some extent, still waking up from the deep rest. I made myself a nice hot coffee as if on a whim, and am listening to some music for the first time in a few days.

And what did I miss? A look at today’s headlines:

To be honest, nothing too unexpected; and nothing worth giving up a weekend of my life for.