In an effort to escape his “chronic need to both feed and be fed by the so-called digital grid”, New York Times reporter David Carr spent a week with his wife on a private island in the Bahamas. He survived!
There was email, no Twitter, and no TV on Little Deadman’s Cay, a 9.5-acre rock just off Long Island in the Bahamas; the only gear Carr had was a Flip Cam to document his stay. But was it enough to rewire his brain for good?
Not exactly. According to Carr you’d need to live in a place like this, not just visit, to really forget the grid exists. But as you might expect, in the moment, all the small things become imbued with splendour:
The lack of larger concerns meant I took an extreme interest in the quotidian aspects of life. Making a decent cup of Cuban coffee with the French roast we brought, some Parmalat and a paper towel that served as a filter didn’t make me crafty or superior; it made me glad for the cup of coffee and made me taste all its corners.
It was sad that we had only a desultory array of groceries to work with, but each night I would spend hours conjuring magic from a limited universe of ingredients. Doritos are not an intrinsically handsome food, but when paired with a local avocado that took days to ripen, they became transcendent.
And though Carr had tried to bring the technological world with him – he packed “an iPad jammed with various kinds of media, enough batteries to stock a Walmart, a BlackBerry, a bunch of DVDs, 7000 songs on my iPod and a bottle of extra virgin olive oil” – the only thing he needed, he says, was his wife.
Carr says that when he considered the prospect of his island holiday, his first reflection was that “Alcatraz was an island too”. But the trip ultimately proved that a little time off the grid can make the pleasures of the analogue life come into focus. [NYT]