Certain things need to happen before I can really, truly relax. I have a hard time thinking straight if the kitchen sink is full of dirty dishes. For whatever reason, piles of books and yarn and paperwork detritus next to the couch don’t bother me in the slightest – but stack a few plates, bowls, spoons, and mugs in the vicinity of the sink and I will be antsy and tense until they are cleaned up and whisked away to the appropriate cabinet. In fact, last night’s spaghetti and roasted Brussels sprouts left their mark on the kitchen, and it’s taking a conscious effort to ignore the mess while I write this.

The identity of some dishes has been obscured to protect the innocent.

The truth is, I like escaping to the kitchen. Sometime around Thursday, I start thinking about what I want to cook over the weekend, and I can easily spend five hours on a Sunday making a salad and dressing, a main dish with accompaniments, and a few snacks. I might use the time to catch up on some of my favorite podcasts, or I might just enjoy the quiet rhythm of washing, rinsing, chopping, and stirring. Time in the kitchen involves creativity and production – two of my favorite things.

I’d say that the majority of the work I do requires creating and producing through electronic devices. When I’m on the clock in whatever capacity, I usually have two laptops humming, and I certainly can’t ignore my phone, that smart little gadget, intermittently chirping awake with its helpful but insistent dings and beeps and vibrations. In the midst of full-time digital life, I like to unplug.

The catchphrase of the week for me is “always-on culture.” I just started reading Net Smart: How to Thrive Online by Howard Rheingold. I haven’t made it out of the introduction yet, but I’m ready to unplug this weekend and hunker down with a book, an actual hard-copy information delivery system. And when my eyes need a break, I think I’ll scurry into the kitchen and cook up a few recipes. From books!

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5 Responses to “Unplugging”

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