Friday, July 16, 2010

Your Internet Time-Wasters--Revealing the Inner You?

Hey, suitors who want a neat way to evaluate your potential mate! Hey sorority ladies trying to determine the best candidates during "rush"!  Hey Moms, Dads, kids who want the real scoop on family-members--here's a quick route to discovering anyone's inner soul.

Ask how he wastes time on the Internet.

In the "old days," people frittered away time talking on the phone, watching TV or reading magazines, pulp romances or sports statistics.  Nowadays, they spend hours following click-leads to sites that reflect their idiosyncratic self-indulgences.

I confess: I check out cameras. I'm looking for the camera that meets all my criteria. It hasn't been made, yet, but that doesn't keep me from searching, comparing, evaluating, reading reviews. For hours (and then hating myself for it).

My daughter loves shoes. She goes on all the online shoe sites trying to find ones she adores on sale.  She buys them, then takes them back to stores near her if they're not right.  My other daughter's passion is pets. Puppies, actually. She scours Craigslist for adorable candidates, squealing and lapsing into baby talk when a photo particularly captures her fancy.

My son checks out comedy.  College Humor is his haunt, and when he finds something hilarious or catchy, he switches to YouTube to see its prequel, sequel, take-offs, permutations and all the campy songs written about it.  (Double rainbow--it's so intense!)

Every news outlet notes that porn gets the most hits on the web.  But how often do you see stories about people addicted to...well, stereo power cords?

My husband, the audio-phile, spends hours comparing the virtues of various stereo inter-connects. Yes, those pieces of wire and connectors that hook together components like amplifiers, CD players and speakers.  Did you know that some of these cords and connectors can cost as much as $40,000 each? (um, which should I get, a fancy car or the two-inch-long Siltech Emperor Crown connector?)  The Nordost White Light glass fiber optic cable is a comparative bargain, at just $33,000.

My man, however, gets his jollies by chasing down the best deals on his audio equipment. He's looking for the most resonant bang (and Olufsen?) for the buck, wondering if a $300 power cord is really just a tenth as good as its $3,000 counterpart.  Recently, we got a parcel on our front porch.  Minutes later, there appeared to be a scary black snake coiled behind his amplifier, working its silent magic on Schubert.  Hubby was thrilled, and raced back to his computer for some idyllic time checking out further electronic enhancements.

As a psychologist specializing in relationships, I've always been fascinated by individuals' quirks and affections.  I'm going to have to research what internet time-wasters say about a person's mental health.  But until my definitive study, there's no harm in replacing the age-old pick-up line "What's your sign?" with "what's your site?"  And it could end up being a lot more revealing.

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