This was long before onboard TVs and DVD players. Modern freighters, some of which carry up to 12 passengers, come with those, plus three squares a day, plus amenities: saunas, pools, video libraries. If I embarked today as a passenger aboard a freighter, I’d endeavor not to spend the long days at sea—and they are long—rewatching The Sopranos. I prefer to think that I’d bring along a steamer trunk full of Shakespeare and Dickens and Twain. Short of taking monastic vows or trekking into the Kalahari, a freighter passage might just offer what our relentlessly connected age has made difficult, if not impossible: splendid isolation.
This is precisely what I’m going to do by taking down my Facebook profile for a month – or at least till the New Year, and as many other online profiles I can recall having. Goodbye MySpace, for good this time. Goodbye Connexions. Goodbye OkCupid. Goodbye every damn tool of sad, lonely communication except for this blog. Hello Thoreau.