Ever since I had that lengthy stretch of non-internet time, I've been feeling more philosophical about everything that happens on the web. That isn't to say that the people on the other end of this series of tubes aren't just as real to me as they ever were; it's more that I had to go reclaim a life AFK, and when I did that, the intense attachment I felt to everything that happened on the internet diminished a bit, shrank back into a proper perspective. The people I know and care about on the web became more like pen-pals; when I get online it's like reading a letter from someone who moved away from my town.
And really, for me, that's the best way. I have a tendency to live inside my head a little too much; I read, I knit, I... sit on the internet and update Twitter. And Facebook. And three or four forums. And when it comes right down to it, that means I have little time where I sit with actual live adult humans, face-to-face, and interact.
And despite the fact that I regained some perspective during my recent absence, I have found that it's beginning to slip again. About a month ago I started a little knit group, and on the first night I felt awkward and estranged. From people I've known for almost 20 years. That isn't okay with me, and I decided, again, that the internet was eating my life.
The thing about living so much in my own head and spending a lot of time on the internet is that I start losing my reality filters. For a person who spends so much time quietly thinking anyway, it is very easy to form deep, passionate attachments to people online, because in my opinion, a relationship formed and carried on through the internet is the perfect example of a purely mental and emotional relationship. Except that it's an idealized relationship; almost everyone presents their best self online, removing and editing and self-censoring all the things that could be construed as negative by the groups they're in.
So I become entranced by these thought-relationships, these semi-mind melds of the online community. And then the relationships I have with these folks, who I may or may not ever meet in the flesh, begin to supersede the relationships I have at home.
(See there? I just typed "at home." As if the Internet is another place, a mappable place, a place where I physically go. Do you know where I go? I go to my living room, sit down at my desk, and jiggle my mouse to wake my PC up. That's where I go. Not Bimini, or Dublin, or Schenectady. And it's hard, friends, hard for me to remember that. And that's bad.)
Anyway, all of that is a twisty way of coming to the point, which is that I may or may not elect to continue getting cable, the means by which I access the internet. If I choose to stop my cable (we've been wanting to kill our television for about a year now, anyway), it won't be because the 'net is bumming me out; it won't be because none of my dear, good friends are important to me anymore (because you ARE, you ARE, oh, man, you ARE); it will be because, when it comes down to it, the deep attachment I feel to the internet is unhealthy. And expensive.
And I can't seem to cut costs in this area... in any sense of the word.