I have too many tabs open tonight and their very presence is disturbing my soul.
Open tabs feel like unfinished business. And that’s exactly what they are – they’re research papers I’ve identified as important but have yet to thoroughly read. I don’t have time to read them now, so leaving the tabs open is the most effective way to ensure I read them soon. But it is very disconcerting to me.
The most disconcerting part is the risk that I will accidentally close them, or use them to visit another website without realising, or close the browser, or turn off my laptop without thinking. It’s the same sort of feeling as I get when leaving my laptop open in the middle of the floor, or stretching a wire taut across the room to reach the socket. Or, I don’t know, putting an egg in my pocket. Thought process: I’ll have to remember about that…agh, I’m definitely going to forget…maybe I shouldn’t do it…no, it’s the best option, I’ll just have to remember………fuck, I knew it, I fucking forgot.
I know, by now, that there is a very high probability that I will do the very thing I am trying to remember not to do. Just ask my laptop’s screen. Or my previous laptop’s screen. Or my phone’s screen. Or the multiple pairs of broken glasses, or all that spilt coffee, or the countless things I’ve left behind in hotels after placing them in convenient but inconspicuous areas of the room.
That’s what makes the open tabs thing effective – I’m leveraging the tension. The longer they stay open the more chance I have to fuck up, so I’d better get to them quick. It has a fairly short lifespan. If I don’t clear them tomorrow I’ll probably enter the stress exhaustion phase, at which point I’ll either learn to live with them forever or just close the browser without any attempt to save their links.