Sleeping With Your Laptop

All right, so you can't curl up with hypertext. That's simple enough to understand: a computer is just too damn big. Even a portable computer doesn't sit well on your lap when you're lying in your bed. For one thing, it has a tendency to get hot. It's also still too big to be convenient.

But let's also look at this in my own made-up psychological terms. Why do people read in bed? Well, check out what Proust has to say for one thing. For myself, I'd have to argue that reading in bed is one of the most satisfying ways to spend the final moments of the day. For this reason: reading acts as an escape. Sleep is the ultimate form of escapism, and reading bridges that gap between waking hours and dreamtime.

Thus, to take this hypothesis further, one could argue that in reading before sleep, the reader is escaping from (among other things) technology, and anything else that might have to do with the world from which they are trying to escape. By propping a computer on your lap as you lie in bed, you are only extending your daytime activities into the night, negating the beneficial and necessary results of reading in bed.

Has this gone too far? Perhaps. But one could argue that as long as we can't bridge the technological abyss between the paperback and laptop computer, the blissful exercise of reading in bed will be off limits to hypertext.

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