Princess: Like, I might go off the grid | AspenTimes.com

Princess: Like, I might go off the grid

Alison Berkley Margo
The Princess’s Palate

So I'm thinking about doing an experiment in the month of October kind of like Lent but for a Jewish girl who is over technology. Like, I want to give up Facebook and my cellphone and check my email only once a day and see what happens.

While I'm at it, I should quit watching TV, too.

It's true we sit and watch the Food Network until our eyelids melt and have probably seen every episode of "Chopped" at least once. And while I could try to make the argument that we love to cook and can learn about cooking, I'm not sure there is anything to be gained from watching competing chefs prepare dishes with random ingredients from their mystery boxes like prune juice or jelly beans or dried peas. Plus, I liked Ted Allen so much better on "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy." Now that was a show worth watching.

It's just that my Facebook fatigue is growing. I'm so tired of the same old stuff people seem to post, gloating about whatever it is they're most proud of in their lives, which is either: a) their kid, b) their dog or c) #whatIdidlastweekend.

Every photo posted on my page in the past two months is of my pug, as if to announce to the world that I officially have become one of those weird childless ladies with a small designer dog.

I'm also not sure how necessary it is to see all these photos of people I haven't seen in what, like, 35 years who found me when other people found me. No offense, but we lost touch for a reason.

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Then there's the problem that comes from all the random people you care nothing about but accepted their friend requests anyway because a) you felt bad about rejecting them and b) you wanted to up your friend count. So now you have to read all these posts and every other comment from their friends you don't know, chiming in on the photo of them on their kid's first day at school ("so stinking cute" and "I can't believe how big he is!").

One thing I've also noticed is that my friends who actually have a life don't use Facebook. Not posting on Facebook is, in my mind, an indication that you're having such a good time or a fulfilling life that you don't feel the need to tell everyone about it, like all the arbitrary people on your so-called "friends" list. I have one friend in particular who is so cool that the only posts I've seen from him in the past year are clearly spam, things like, "I lost ten pounds in three weeks with OxyTrim." He's so cool he doesn't even have time to worry about spam or the fact that his account clearly has been hacked.

Only the people in his life are privy to his life — what a concept.

But what really drives me crazy is when people post these long, detailed instructions about how they want you to go into your privacy settings and do this, that and the other thing to protect their privacy. And I'm sitting there, yelling at my computer, going, "If you want your privacy protected, don't go on Facebook at all, you dumbass!"

The best is when you see all these photos of parties you weren't invited to or friends who were in town but didn't call. That's what I just did. Like, great to see you on top of Independence Pass 12 hours ago; why didn't you call? #youdontlovemeanymore.

So what got me started on this rant, other than the fact that I sound bitter and am probably becoming a recluse?

A few weeks ago, I drowned my iPhone when a water bottle I'd thrown in my purse wasn't closed all the way. I had to send it back to Apple for a replacement phone, and it took forever to get the new one, so I was without cellphone for about a week. And you know what? It wasn't so bad. In fact, it was sort of great.

People who made plans with me had to stick to them. There was no texting back and forth in the hour before our meeting time with minute-to-minute updates and/or plan changing.

There was no texting while driving, which I do try to avoid. I'll call the person back only to have them not answer the phone even though they'd texted me two seconds ago.

There was no carpal tunnel on account of thumb-typing responses to questions like "How r u?" sent to me via text.

I got to talk to people on my land line, which is great because the phone doesn't get all hot and make you feel like you are getting brain cancer right there on the spot.

I also spent a lot of time reading, like an actual book, the kind you hold in your hands and doesn't require batteries. I love books because I can read them in the bathtub and don't care when they get all crinkly.

The other night, in fact, I was soaking in the tub thinking how great it would be to open the A-Frame Cafe where there's no cell reception and we could have stacks of smart publications like The New Yorker and board games like backgammon and Scrabble and it would smell like paper and ink and coffee and we'd have all these comfy sofas and leather chairs. Fly fisherman could come in and warm up with hot tea and talk about their day on the river. And people could actually talk to one another and share stories and not have their noses in the smartphones but be where they actually are.

I'm sure that would all be fine and great until everyone would keep asking, "Excuse me, can you please give me the password to the wireless network?"

The Princess checked Facebook like eight times while writing this column. Follow me on Twitter @aspenprincess.

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