Why I Like the Trail Behind My House House Better Than the Internet

May 16, 2013 § 1 Comment

trail 2

Last week my partner and I relocated from New York City to Spokane, and have spent the last few days slowly unpacking and eating as much fresh produce as possible. Moving is always stressful, but in this case the transition has been fairly painless, largely due to how glad we were to leave pee-smelling, crowded-ass New York. I don’t care what logistical hoops we might need to jump through; where we are is so much easier and so much prettier than where we were. I’m happy just to be here.

The best part of being back (my parents have lived in Spokane since 2007) is the trail behind our house, which for several miles runs parallel to the Spokane River — see above. The trail has been my Spokane running go-to for years, and this time around has significantly cut into my time on the internet. Not just because being on the trail means not being in front of a computer, although of course there’s that, but because being on the trail has impacted the way I think and feel about the internet.

Specifically, it makes me less patient with the dizzying turnover of inconsequential content that undergirds the click-based web economy. The things people are screaming at each other about today are seamlessly replaced with whatever thing they’ll be screaming at each other about tomorrow, which will promptly be forgotten once Gawker posts whatever snarky thing about the next socio-cultural indignity, for example the latest episode of HBO’s Girls. Everyone will start screaming again, and Twitter will light up with jokes that are both mean and not funny, and the whole process will almost immediately begin repeating itself. I’m tired of watching people scream at each other over nothing, and am tired of getting worked into a lather over things I know full well will be forgotten by the morning. I’m tired of impermanence, I guess you could say, which is why I like the trail and river so much.

Obviously, trails and rivers undergo constant change — rain and ice erodes the soil, animals burrow holes and croak in the underbrush, the leaves go from green to yellow to gone to green, and all that. But I can come back after a year and still know where to go for a run, still know where the poison oak grows, still know where to watch my step. Maybe I’m just getting old, maybe I’ve spent too much time online these last few years and have simply reached my limit. Whatever the reason(s), I have drawn a surprising amount of comfort from knowing what to expect, which has resulted in sudden and pointed disinterest in who’s mad at what on the internet. It’s possible that this feeling will pass (minds are strange machines), but it’s also possible that it won’t. Either way, I’ll be outside.

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