Monday, January 23, 2012

Is the Internet Evil and Sucking Us Into a Vortex?

Our internet went down on Friday night. At first, the television started flickering in and out (it is bound up in a triple play with our phone and internet) and then the internet went down entirely. Anyone who knows me knows that this will completely freak me out. But the thing was, all of a sudden, I could focus on other things! It was like a bad case of ADD that was just gone.

Justin relies on our internet connection to do his job from home and we knew that if our connection didn't come back pretty quick, he was going to have to find a way to get into the office despite the freezing rain and frozen roads. If he can't work, we can't eat, so that's pretty simple. But I think he decided that it was time for a short break and he pretty much took it easy for the last two days.

I, of course, was having a seizure because I couldn't update my status on Facebook, make plays on Words with Friends, and, oh, work on Malea's fundraising. I had just opened my Cafe Press shop (which you are welcome to visit and order from - just click on the link on the right side) and I am also working on other ideas that need internet access. So, it was becoming a matter of desperation by Saturday afternoon.

Justin admitted on Sunday that he was as close to exasperated with me as he has ever been because I got it into my head that I absolutely must have a new phone with a data plan since our connection was down until the Infinity guy could get out here this morning and get us reconnected. I fixated on this to the point of obsession and was certain that the world would end if I didn't go to Best Buy and get myself a new phone. But cooler heads and more rational thought actually prevailed (in other words, I didn't want to drive in the icy weather). I made it through Saturday somehow and by yesterday, I was feeling actually quite relieved to be disconnected. I spent the day sewing on one of my raffle contribution projects and watched some trashy cable (thank God the cable television didn't go out or I would have had to take my computer over to the nearest Wi Fi hot spot).

I felt less stress. I felt less annoyed. And I felt like I was going in many fewer directions than when my computer is turned on. When I have computer access, I spend money without even thinking about it - one click has made it so easy. But, I have made a pledge that every day I am going to get up and commit to not adding to our consumer debt that day. Today was day 9 of the pledge and I am really thrilled to say that I have not used our credit cards for anything frivolous in that entire amount of time. For a complete and total impulse buyer, this is no small accomplishment. Especially when the internet goes down and my only connection to the outside world is through my lousy little texting phone. Yesterday was as close as I have gotten in the last nine days to breaking my pledge. But I decided that if I did buy a new phone, I would pay cash and I found that I didn't really want to part with my cash as much as I wanted an android phone.

Today, the Infinity guy showed up right on time (despite the fact that Comcast kept calling a phone number that was not working to confirm our appointment and getting our voice mail) and replaced the cable modem. Boom! We have internet again. And the stress came roaring back. I didn't know what to focus on first. How much did I miss while I was offline????

Probably not that much.

It is nice to have our access back, but it was really nice to just take a deep breath and not be completely and totally available for 48 hours. Isn't it amazing how dependent we have become on our internet access? Texting has replaced phone calls and status updates are replacing texting.

It worries me that things have changed so radically in so few years. And it worries me that I get anxious when I am not connected. But I am glad to know that I can be disconnected and the world will not end. In fact, it won't even really miss me that much.

I will be somewhat disconnected again next week, as I will be traveling down to South Carolina for six days to see my parents' new home and help my mom with some unpacking and shopping. I plan to enjoy both the minor break from the computer (although I am taking it with me) and the time with my parents, since I probably won't see them again until June.

In the meantime, I am going back and forth between tabs again, trying to figure out which blog to read, trying to catch up on Facebook, and trying to get myself oriented to Malea's new website. I think I was really enjoying myself more when I couldn't get to the internet, but I am relieved that we are reconnected. Which brings me to my question: What would we do without the internet if it went away? Are we being sucked into an online world that no longer encourages any face to face interaction?

Just wondering.


  1. I remember when I thought I wasn't going to have internet coverage while travelling it freaked me out and I got a data plan on my phone. I can so relate to your post. I'm new so will have to read through your blog:)

  2. Hi, Kristy!

    I'm still freaking out a little bit about traveling and not having a data plan on my phone. I have one of those old texting only deals where you can't get onto the internet, even though you are supposed to be able to. I am taking my kindle fire and my laptop as backup, but I will probably not be able to connect until I get to my parents' house and can jump on their bandwidth.

    But, in the interest of not spending, which is kind of a radical concept to me, I am doing my best to live with the fact that I don't have to be connected 100% of the time and that actually it feels better sometimes to step away. Do you ever heave a sigh of relief after you sign off of Facebook (and before you sign back in to see what you missed)?



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