What was once a casual diversion has quickly transformed itself into an utter obsession. There is so much more to the Internet these days than just a few random email messages and some bulletin board postings. For a freelance writer and professional blogger like myself, the world wide web really is a way of life (and the source of my livelihood). I have a burning suspicion that I am far from being the only one who is addicted to the Internet.

As a bit of a personal experiment, I wanted to see if it was at all possible for me to disconnect completely from the Internet for an entire weekend. Removing myself from the clutches of the matrix would be quite the challenge, of course, but it also could be quite the source of relief. Possibly even carthartic or enlightening, if you will. Could I do it? Raul put the odds at 2-to-1, but I thought it was much more of a long shot than that.

The first 12 hours or so went by without too much of a hitch. I had timestamped a couple of posts the night before, so I knew that Beyond the Rhetoric would still get new content over the weekend. With a single exception, I have managed to update this blog at least once a day since migrating to WordPress so many moons ago. Things were going well and I thought I could survive the weekend without the Internet.

Saturday evening set in and I ensconced myself in front of the television for some mindless entertainment. Part of this has to do with an Internet addiction and another part may have to do with my work ethic, but I almost felt guilty for not doing something productive. I should be checking my email, I thought. I should be updating my books and writing a blog post, I pondered. Surprisingly, I was able to resist these urges and had a reasonably relaxing rest of the night.

Waking up Sunday morning, I caved. The excuse that I gave myself was that I had to check if my friend had replied to my message on Facebook, as we were planning to meet for Sunday brunch. I probably could have called or texted her instead.

After checking Facebook for any new messages, I followed the slippery slope over to checking my email, peeking at my Twitter, and approving any moderated comments for this blog. Yes, I caved. I managed to stay away from the net for only about 36 hours… not quite my goal of an entire weekend.

It’s not that there haven’t been other episodes when I unplugged from the matrix for a longer period of time, but some of those were involuntary and others were before my shift to a career in freelancing. Given my experimental experience this weekend, I’m beginning to wonder whether it would be a good thing or a bad thing for me to get a wireless data plan on my smartphone. On the one hand, I wouldn’t have to endure the same kind of withdrawal symptoms. On the other hand, wireless web would simply tighten the grip that the Internet has on me.

For now, I suppose I will stick with the status quo. I hope that my trip to CES in Las Vegas next month avails itself to plentiful Internet connectivity. It is the Consumer Electronics Show, after all, but last year was a little hit or miss. At the very least, I’ll have parties and poker to occupy my time.