So I went on a pub crawl last night and met new friends and then all today I have been outside doing outdoorsy things in Buenos Aires like walking around, touring the beautiful cemetery in Recoleta, getting a tan, admiring the fashionable olive-skinned beautiful Argentians in the cafes. ¨This is life!¨ I think to myself.
But as happens when there is a lull in one´s day, one´s mind starts to wander. Specifically, it starts to wander toward the internet. ¨Come on, Dan - it can´t hurt to check your email. And if a couple web sites slip in there who´s really hurt? But I draw the line at Google Reader.¨ I tried to resist the temptation, but it was just too strong. So I tentatively headed to the nearby internet cafe.
I walked in. I saw a few fashionable young Europeans sitting near the door. ¨This won´t be so bad,¨I thought. I went to the attendant´s table. I requested a computer. ¨Numero cuatro¨ I was told. I began to walk over to the computer. I looked up. Sitting at the next computer over was the fattest, palest, wormsiest, ugly glassesiest American I´ve ever had the misfortune of laying my eyes upon. ¨This is not a good sign,¨ I thought. But I sat down anyway. ¨I´m going to do this, and it´s going to be fine. On my terms. No lingering on blogs and news sites for hours. In - and out.¨ So I opened my mail, and there wasn´t much to see. And I Wikipediaed Éva Peron because I´d just seen her grave. ¨This is harmless. I´m in total control.¨
But just as that thought enters my head I look over at the obese pasty wormsy American´s computer. And staring back at me is a nightmarish scene of indescribable horror. This is a rough - it really doesn´t do it justice - approximation of how this scene I am about to recount looked through my eyes. On this man´s Internet Explorer were tabs as far as the eye can see. He had them stacked in three rows - I didn´t even know rows were possible. I scan the labels on the tabs: Talking Points Memo, Huffington Post, Marginal Revolution, The New Republic, Salon, Slate... ¨Oh dear God, I´m in trouble. OK. Stay calm. You can handle this. Just refocus on your core sites and you´ll get through this thing.¨ I took a deep breath. I was about to return to the part in the Wikipedia page discussing the musical Evita when this battle of wills took a dramatic turn for the worse. I decided to look, out of curiosity, at which tab the man had open. And it was... I can barely say it... THE DRUDGE RETORT! Reading The Drudge Report is a signal of a certain level of internet addiction and general depravity. But reading The Drudge Retort - that goes beyond internet addiction and general depravity to a level of addiction and depravity where the separation between you and the Internet breaks down and the concept of a ¨real life¨ceases to exist. The Drudge Retort is a site for people who find The Drudge Report´s news to be too mainstream and uncontrarian and seek a site that caters more to internet nerds´taste. This is The Drudge Report that links to every story that questions the existence of global warming and throws a picture of a baby with a leg sticking out of its head on the front page.
At that point I just lost all of my willpower. A chain reaction of ctrl-clicks soon resulted in a collection of tabs that rivaled my neighbor´s. And that is the sorry state I find myself in at this moment. ¨Let´s go to that fun St. Patrick´s Day party at the Irish bar that girl told us about last night,¨my traveling companion says. ¨What did you say,¨I ask, ¨Geithner AIG Obama Natasha Richardson Ski Accident Bailout American Idol Rigged Bernanke Al Franken Recount? Yes that sounds fantastic, let´s do that.¨