Death by Wi-Fi

| Tue Mar. 15, 2011 6:07 PM EDT

The Wall Street Journal writes today about the latest in pseudo trends: finding a place to work that's internet free:

Gone are the days when a café with good enough coffee, a lax policy on lingering and an open Wi-Fi signal made it the perfect spot for writers to work. With infinite temptations just a mouse click away, many writers are seeking out an increasingly scarce amenity in a wired city: disconnected workspaces.

For the past eight years, Joanna Smith Rakoff has worked at the Writers’ Room, an office on Astor Place where creative types pay monthly fee to keep a desk. In an effort to stay productive, she never asked for the Wi-Fi password. But a recent deadline crush forced her to get online, and in the process she learned a password she couldn’t forget:12345678.

“I’ve not worked as well since,” said Smith Rakoff, 38, who published her first novel, “A Fortunate Age,” last year. “The pull of the Internet, of correspondence, is just too distracting.” She’s now contemplating a move to Paragraph, another workspace on 14th Street, in a bid to recapture her Internet innocence.

Etc. etc., with several other examples offered of writers desperately seeking out coffee shops that don't have Wi-Fi. Like this: "After much searching, West Village novelist Daphne Uviller happened upon her “second office.” The author, whose novel “Hotel No Tell” will be published next month, refused to divulge too many details. She did admit that her workspace without Wi-Fi required her to purchase a lot of $10 quinoa salads."

Look, I get that being online is distracting. But seriously, what's up with these people? You can turn off the Wi-Fi on your laptop, can't you? (I can on mine.) You can turn off your cell phone, can't you? (I can turn mine off.) So what's the deal here? I know all about internet addiction, since I have at least a mild case of it myself, but just how little self-control do you have to have to be unable to simply turn off your connection when you don't want to be disturbed? This is nuts.