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.