I think it was the third day out when I realized I was still trying to sum up what was happening in the third person. Neal Ozano "is tired of thinking of himself in the third person." was pretty much what popped into my head.
It's a terrible curse to feel so tied to a social expectoration, but while camping, phrases such as "is pooping in the woods" or "is probably going to get an intestinal parasite if he doesn't boil this water" or "is going wiggy without a constant stream of updates" kept interrupting an experience that otherwise was a wild, green, quiet break from technology, cities, and even, proper hygiene. Surrounded by green, tall, empty conifers, and crowded with silent, networkless patches of moss and ferns, it still took three days for my mind to change pace from constant input, to constant output.
And it was while camping that I came to the realization that I used to be a net exporter of information. Certainly, and many can attest to this, it wasn't necessarily high-quality, and, if you go far enough back, it was little more than reminisces of drunken escapades, but in its production, there was inspiration. There was motive. There was intent. I had a story. It was a loud, rambunctious, rambling tale that either happened through my own clumsiness, awkwardness or dislocation from reality, or a completely fabricated tale, sometimes intentionally fictitious, sometimes deceptively real.
Now, it seems to be easily condensed into "wants pizza badly" or "hates the cat because it bit him." What is this shit? Honestly? Have I, like millions of other easily distracted individuals, been reduced to a garbage-train-of-though-expectorant? And, more importantly, since I've always been a train-of-thought expectorant, when did the train get so short? And why do I have to go camping to realize I haven't said or written anything interesting in longer than I can remember?
My mind reawoke in the absence of internet. I had several memorable, vivid dreams every night, each one intense enough to wake me up. These weren't nightmares, but I was so unused to dreaming anything memorable that the dreams stuck with me through sheer impact---almost like tasting organic grapefruit. After eating plain ol' regular grapefruit, eating an organic one brought back memories of earlier times, when young tastebuds fired with more intensity at the sour fruit. Yuck. But that first bite brought with it a wave of memories. The kitchen table in my parents' first house. The grapefruit spoons we had for the sole purpose of taking the sections out. The little squirts that would hit your eyes and face and the way you'd try to refill the eaten sections with sugar from the sugar bowl, and eat them again and again.
This is what my brain did without the internet. It all came back to me, slowly. Being unplugged was like eating life organically. It wasn't all piped in. I had to go get it. And it was delicious.