In isolation, you discover lifelong lessons like: Getting Internet in the mountains is a mistake.
Isolation was the aim of our family vacation investment: a place so secluded you could hear only the wind, or the hawk across the valley, or the hummingbirds at the feeders, or the coyotes at night.
High in the hills, off the grid, you can escape the deleterious effects of mass media, the pointless punditry, the over-hyped alarm, the celebrity voyeurism, the fatuous news-chat and the freak shows that parade their monstrosities as "reality TV."
Television would drown your mind like a raging mountain river that pinned it under a rock, were you otherwise isolated.
Besides, how surreal would it be to go into the woods to watch TV? To leave Georgia, where you lay on a sofa watching TV, and travel hundreds of miles to a remote wilderness refuge, to lie on another sofa, turn on another TV, and flip through the same channels.
A vacation should be shelter from that storm, so forget TV. Books, music, cameras, pens and paper and a mountain view will do. That and satellite Internet access.
But now the Internet's as parasitical as TV.
It's a security risk: A mountain refuge is where you retreat come the End Times, or Armageddon, or the Zombie Apocalypse. You lay in larder, load up on guns and ammo, and live out the Tribulation growing potatoes, milking goats and learning to weave your own waterproof but breathable brand-name all-weather fabrics. To make your own food and clothes, time on task is critical.
You will never get that done checking Facebook and seeing your "friend" Ted just updated his status to "zombie bit," then clicking "Like" because of Ted's photo narcissism ("Epic lunch with prominent friends!") and pirated profundities. ("A smile is never wasted on a child.")
By the time you're off Facebook, night has fallen and you have no more solar power. Did you mean to Google instructions for reloading buckshot shells? Well, too late.
Next time you make a beer run into Zombietown, you go down firing the No. 4 bird shot you were saving for Thanksgiving.
So, thanks to the Internet, you never learn the life lesson that ultimately you are alone in this reality, even when zombies surround you on Facebook or TV, so you need to focus.
That's no epiphany. Ted posted it on Facebook last week, with a picture of himself at lunch.
Tim Chitwood, firstname.lastname@example.org, 706-571-8508.