There’s nothing like that sinking feeling when you hit the “on” button on your school-mandated, important-software-containing laptop and get—


Blank space. An empty screen.

I came home for the weekend toting several pounds of then-useless scrap metal and plastic and dumped it onto my desk, staring at it accusingly. All of my homework was on that machine! All my photos of Ireland and goofy snapchats from my friends! How was I supposed to remember all my passwords when they were all stored on my in-browser keychain?!

Then I sat down on the couch and, devoid of my device, opened a book for the first time in what felt like ages. Went cover to cover on that baby. It had been a really long time since I had done that.

I’m in no way anti-technology. I’m typing this now on my very newly repaired, very precious laptop and wouldn’t have it any other way. My Ireland photos, dear to me as they are, sit safely on my hard drive (and now, after this near-disaster, in the cloud). But I also understand the purpose of wifi-free cafes and low- or no-tech vacations. I like flipping through books in libraries and taking notes by hand (how would I doodle in the margins otherwise?). Maybe this is obvious for some people—why would you get that attached to your computer? But it’s not so straightforward for me. My family and I use our devices a lot and I’m constantly surrounded by them at school; it’s too easy to keep wearing that blue-light mask even when I don’t need to be. And no, downloading f.lux doesn’t count for anything.

But maybe there’s hope for me yet. This weekend, after all, I missed my main gadget for all of two hours—before remembering that sometimes I’d rather get lost in ink on a page than pixels on a screen. ♦