Solitary Confinement

by Dan Ward

Sunday morning rolled around, and my wife and I began preparations for a family trip to the beach. But 59-year-old Tom Watson was still in the lead going in to the final 18 at The Open Championship. What’s a sports fanatic with family obligations to do?

Simple, I thought. Set the DVR and worry about ol’ Tom later.

But then I realized times have changed from the days when I could tape a ball game and avoid learning the score in advance by simply warning my friends not to call. This time, I needed a plan.

– Avoid any news programming on the car radio … check.
– Keep eyes squarely on the road to avoid the interstate billboards broadcasting the latest news … check.
– Make sure the TV is set for the remainder of the day to The Food Network, apparently the last network left that doesn’t provide a news “crawl” … check.
– Don’t answer the phone, even if it’s my mother … check.
– Don’t log on to Facebook, where a “yay, Tom” or “sorry, Tom” message might be squeezed between the Mafia Wars posts … check.
– Keep the twittering with the birds, where it belongs … check.

My plan worked, and I watched Tom get destroyed by the vengeful golf gods around 11 p.m. But it certainly wasn’t easy.

We’ve chosen to inundate ourselves with information; always searching for the quickest way to know what everyone in our lives (or in the news) is doing right this very instant. But sometimes I think this quest for immediate knowledge has made tools like the DVR irrelevant. The DVR was supposed to let me watch my favorite programs, sporting events or the news at a time of my choosing, but the only way to actually make that happen is to separate myself completely from every form of communication.

Sometimes, any information is simply too much.

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