Screen staring is not writing. It is not research. It is reading every news report you do and mostly do not need to know (cute animal videos, a cure for graduation blues, the size of Angelina’s bump) and then re-reading them. It occasionally involves scrabble or other time sucking games, definitely involves graphics, shopping for free photoshop brushes and costly everything else. Deep into screen staring you start to page through old emails and actually read the lame jokes, read blogs of people you don’t know, and check out Google Earth to see which car is in your driveway.
I have a large computer screen. It is the size of a flat screen TV, but I have managed to convince myself that staring at this flat screen is more productive, more intellectual, more educated than staring at the flat screen in the living room. This self-duping falls into the same column with tried and never true adages such as “the calories don’t count if I’m standing at the counter” and “look how much I’ll save if I spend.”
Screen staring is like being kidnapped while being overcome with Stockholm syndrome — everyone on the screen becomes more like your true friend, much more important than the real people orbiting the house or the real dog holding a leash in her mouth. It is an antidote to exercise, smart eating and other activities that will lengthen your life (I know this because set my computer to stumble on healthy lifestyles).
Screen staring can turn otherwise thoughtful people into statues. It is what I resort to when I am too tired, too uninspired (too sad?) to deal with the real world. Addictive and harmful to my mental health. Time to go.