I enjoy a lot of the distractions that the online world offers, including Facebook, but sometimes you have to turn them off in order to get things done (or at least I do).
For example, when I write about U-town, I never think of the limitations of a world without computers, since I lived in that world for the majority of my life (I will have to calculate when I will pass the point when that will no longer be true – I'm thinking another fifteen years). Well, I guess I'm calculating that from when I got my first computer (I was earlier than a lot of people, but certainly not a pioneer), which was around the same time the Web was invented – and that's the really distracting part of the Internet.
And, as has been pointed out before, Fritz Drybeam in Inherent Vice was probably the first internet addict, and at a certain point he decides that he has to get off line and get back to work. And that was in 1970, a couple of decades before the invention of the Web.
But, as far as computers go, they're really useful, but my favorite thing about them has never changed. As I said in this blog post:
"If you've ever written a novel on a typewriter, that's reason enough to value a computer.
"It allows me to revise text without retyping. Everything else is gravy. Tasty gravy, in some cases, but gravy."
That's why I bought my first computer, and that's still the coolest thing they do. And, much as I appreciate writing on computers, that has never translated to wanting to write about computers. Before I had a computer, I wrote on typewriters, and I never had any desire to write about them either.
And, in terms of how people in U-town can possibly live without telephones and taxicabs (let alone computers and cell phones and so on), as in, I enjoy thinking of how people can figure out how to solve problems with limited resources. One of the things I learned from The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, I suppose.
(Given that this is the second post in a row where I've mentioned The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, for different reasons, I'm thinking there needs to be a new entry in "The Ten Pillars of Modern Literature.")