Here's the deal. I really, really, really want to break up with you. Why? Because sometimes I think you and I have a toxic relationship.
Take what happened this morning. I sat down to write a column, not to surf the Web. In fact, I told myself NOT to get online until my work was done. That's right. No sneak peeks at my email. No visits to Facebooklandia. No glimpses of my favorite blogs. No, sir. Not until that column's all done, Missy. That's what I said to myself. Sternly. Because I meant it.
But you know how it is. As soon as a girl turns her computer on, the promise of you, Dear Internet, is there. You're all, "Pay attention to me for just a minute. And then you can get straight back to work, and I won't bother you again. I promise."
That's what you said to me this morning. So I said OK, fine. What could it hurt? I'll spend a brief moment with you, Dear Internet, and then I'll be ready to buckle down and work, even though (as we all know) work is hard and buckling down is no fun at all.
And then it happened. I went online to check my email. Briefly. But right away I saw a story on Yahoo! about Blake Lively and her brand new $2 million diamond ring.
Yes. That's right. I said "$2 million diamond ring."
OK. I don't watch "Gossip Girl," and I barely know who Blake Lively is. But suddenly I was clicking onto that link and reading all about her wedding, including where it happened (in a barn with pine needle-strewn aisles), what she was wearing (a gown by Marchesa) and whom she married (Ryan Reynolds) (who you once said secretly married Sandra Bullock) (but apparently you were wrong).
I wasn't the only person reading about Blake Lively's $2 million engagement ring this morning. There were nearly 2,000 comments, most of them snarky. I didn't read them all just enough to make me wish I could rinse my brain out with mouthwash. What is it about you, Dear Internet, that encourages people to bring their worst selves to the discussion table? Oh yeah. That's right. No one has to be accountable for anything they say under the cover of darkness you provide.
But whatever. That's not the real problem for me personally. The real problem is that you're a Time Suck. Oh, how many hours have I whiled away with you when I should have been doing something else. And how many hours have other people done the same! I've lost count of the times I've been in a room where everybody was on a smartphone, engaging with you instead of the actual human being sitting next to him or her.
You're not all bad, Dear Internet. Not at all. You've made it easier for me to connect and keep up with people, which is AWESOME. I would be sad if I couldn't read the blogs I cherish. I adore the convenience of email and the immediacy of IM-ing. I love having instant access to all kinds of information. Seriously, how did I ever write a story before you blew into town? How?! That's why in the immortal words of Led Zeppelin I can't quit you, Baby. (I found that Led Zeppelin lyric online, btw.)
I'm just saying that I remember how life was before Al Gore invented you. And there are mornings like this one when I truly believe your minuses far outweigh your plusses.
Memo to readers • Discuss among yourselves. How do you manage your relationship with the Internet?
Ann Cannon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or facebook.com/anncannontrib.