The room comes into focus and I’m fairly certain of the time, but I check anyway: it’s 3:20 am. Most mornings I wake up around this time, reach for my iPhone, the screen lights up confirming the exact hour of darkness, I switch from airplane mode and engagement has commenced.
This is my routine for insomnia.
The push-pull argument in my head between ‘it’s too early to be this alert’ coupled with the ‘why can’t I wish myself back to sleep?’ lasts just a moment as my attention diverts to the notifications on my phone coming at me in rapid succession. Often, one catches my eye and I take the bait.
Like other mornings, I lie here captive as my phone beckons my attention, letting me know what I missed; that feeling of needing to catch up is prompting me to check in on my virtual life. Sleep is now far away as I scroll through my social media platforms, text alerts, then onto Google. Some of you can relate.
Soon my mind is wandering, I read something that needs further investigation and, it’s ‘hey, I need to look that up!’ Fingers tapping away on the screen.
At this moment I am in the questioning stage of an unhealthy relationship with Google; yet, I cannot stop. Instead, I type in one topic, then the next, marveling at how dexterous my thumbs are, as I seek answers to my mind’s thought crumbs. Some questions I know the answers, I just need confirmation.
A rogue thought flashes across my mind; it’s time to stage my own intervention. A glance at what I’ve been searching for is neither revealing or interesting. Just a grouping of rambling and downright stupid Google searches, this is a sampling of what caught my attention on this morning:
- What causes an allergic reation to nickel?
- Relationship conflicts in the Book of Genesis
- Round dining room tables for small spaces
- Top selling pajamas on Amazon
- Dog gifs
- Pet friendly vacation rentals
- How long can someone stay in space?
- I’m a Ray of Sunshine meme mugs and accessories
- Jane Seymour recalls awkward love scenes
- Can toxins be absorbed in showers?
- Funny quotes
Seriously, I could go on and on. Random thoughts are normal, googling each one, I’m sure isn’t. My brain fires up and I start to search for the answers instead of just letting them go. One search has led to the next, and then I am either mildly entertained, or annoyed.
As I write this I type in the search bar: How do I stop myself from randomly googling things? Reddit pops up. For those who haven’t found themselves at some point getting lost on Reddit or Quora, they are aggregators of topics people search for on the Internet.
There are eight responses to: Does anyone else have this problem and how did you solve it? This makes me happy; I am not alone.
One person, who admits being a random googler, and also afraid of Velcro, says to keep a piece of paper and pen handy to write down thoughts and questions, put aside, then go back to what you were doing.
Yup, used to do this before this hand-held device ruled my life.
Another person responds that being a googler isn’t so bad. You’re just curious and at least you’re learning something. Plus, you’re not spending money when your googling, bonus!
Really? A good portion of my Google searches involve planning for a future purchase.
Another person admits they love to Google the meaning of their dreams. I have wasted hours doing that too.
Others suggest self-governing by creating rules to stick by and if that doesn’t work, one contributor suggests installing software to block Google.
Yet another person emphasizes how serious this is and continues by stating it’s a sign of neurological disorder, then admits to not being a doctor.
Okay, enough…Put the phone, down.
There is such a thing as Compulsive Googling, or is it Obsessive Googling? Or Obsessive-Compulsive Googling? Participants on a psychforum site can’t decide.
If this obsession didn’t exist the most popular questions to Google wouldn’t be: Why is there a leap day? in the number one spot, followed by; Why is the sky blue? coming in second. My googles don’t look nearly as dumb, or do they? (I don’t know the answers to those questions either, do you?)
For now, I am going to have to keep this annoying habit in check and leave my phone downstairs. Across the room doesn’t work, I tried that.
What will also have to go? Checking the weather of all my favorite places around the globe after I have tired of Google and run out of things to search for.
Sorry to be harsh Google, but it’s time to go solo, seek answers on my own, and resist the urge to engage with you. I need to end our co-dependent relationship.
From now on…
Ignorance is bliss. The person who coined this phrase must have known Google was coming. But I am not looking it up to find out. You can.