‘This must be what true self-pity feels like’.
I was staring at the ceiling hoping to have an epiphany… ummm…hmmm… nope…. Nothing…
I was a sloth, slumped on the couch and had no intention of getting up, all required devices were within arm’s reach (I had the flu, which is my excuse). Then I turned around to face a different wall, hoping for that epiphany, because it was a different wall… nope nothing…just the bleak reality I was hoping to escape.
We had no internet! And we were paralysed with boredom.
So before you read on, I am sure that there have been many blogs, articles, and even whole books dedicated to how dependent we are on technology and above all the internet. But, you know what, I never wrote any of those! So I’m jumping on the bandwagon, fashionably late as usual 😉
Me and my other half were in a state of mind paralysis. We didn’t know what to do. It’s almost the exact opposite of being in a 70% off sale in a large store. You want to be here, there and everywhere at once, you’re very excited, and you don’t know where to start. In this case, there is nothing that comes into your head, there is no excitement, and there is nowhere to start.
I could blog? But I rely on information I read online. I could bake? But the recipes are all online. let’s check Facebook. Nope, can’t do that. What about BBC? No. No streaming. So what do I do? I know! I could read. But when the mind is set on something, you are soon distracted from anything you try to do. Like an itch inside your ear in the middle of a meeting. You try so hard not to scratch and look awkward, but it’s all you can think about.
Being cut off from the internet or any signal is not a new experience for us. Particularly when moving house, or when on a meditation retreat, or when you go somewhere so obscure that there is no signal of life, or a signal of any kind. But there is something in common with all of these ‘offline’ experiences. They are planned, 99% of the time. The other 1% can include being trapped on top of a Swiss mountain because your husband wanted to stay longer to take photos, with no way of getting down and NO signal (true story,but thats for another time), and other such unplanned incidents. But let’s face it, in all these cases, you are not bored because you are most definitely occupied with moving, or meditating, or running down a mountain like a headless chicken hoping to get to the bottom before sundown to avoid freezing to death.
This ‘unplanned’ 1% also includes the sudden death of the modem/router/internet at home. This is when the whole space/time continuum in my house is disrupted. Almost everything we do in our daily lives involves the internet. We watch you tube, or connect to apple TV, or stream sports, or read, or Facebook, follow baking instructions, Skype with loved ones, or blog! Feeling down? Watch a ‘fail’ video with someone running into a wall, and appearing to have more problems than you. Want inspiration? Look online for a design idea. What about if you want to have a deep and meaningful debate? You can read, read and read to your heart’s content online, and talk about it with others. Truth is, we rely on information more and more to fuel our thoughts, our feelings, our moods, our conversations. This is now at our fingertips, every second of every day, online. It’s like a drug, its addictive. Suddenly when it’s not available, the comedown is hard.
I could have read a book – still have 50 shades of grey to finish before THIS graces our screens, I could have gone for a walk, or lo and behold, we could have just talked to each other! Instead, I was staring at the blank wall, and my husband was trying to self-diagnose the problem – for hours!
We went to bed very early and didn’t utter a word about the obvious lingering conundrum – when did we get to this point where we cannot function like adults without the internet? Why do other activities that we happily carry out at other times such as reading, exercise, talking to each other seem so unappealing when we know that we cannot pull out our phones and be connected in an instant? Is it that being online makes us feel closer to people, news, and all other things we desire? Makes us feel connected? Or is it the other way around? We try so hard to feel connected to this world by trying to tweet this or instagram that, but in fact are we becoming more and more disconnected…