I write this from what I have come to believe is my own personal purgatory. As each hour passes by my paranoia increases, even as I type my eyes are flicking about, searching for the one thing that could set me free: Wi-Fi. Yup, I am currently working on a computer which is not connected to the internet — crazy right?
Of course when I first found out, when I first saw those little bars disappearing (they were so young!), I looked at this machine with derision. What use could it possibly be now? It was basically an expensive doorstop, but, thankfully, I’ve found a use for it, and now its status has been raised to expensive typewriter.
But truly, who knew pre-Internet life was so hard! You had to think of things to do all the time. You had to actually entertain yourself rather than simply leaning back and enjoying Reddit’s finest. Honestly, what did they do with all that time?
Both of my grandparents, whom I am staying with this lovely Thanksgiving break, were born into a world without computers or cell phones, colored television or paper towels. They lived through one world war, a couple presidential scandals and a few personal ones, and no one can deny that they are amazing people. More than once my grandmother, a retired nurse, has regaled me with stories of her own university years, speaking of the sexism she dealt with on a daily basis and the double standards all the women were forced to fight against. My grandfather, one of the first members of the Environmental Protection Agency, has stories of his own, dictating the life of the places we pass whenever we are out together, he knows the history of every tree and flower, passing along memories for each creek and stream.
Clearly both of them are incredible people, yet — and I really hope you read the next line with the appropriate amount of incredulity — they grew up in a world without Internet. Somehow, without instant notification of their third cousin what’s-her-name’s baby being born or the constant bombardment of advertisements telling them what to like or how they should look, they still had successful and fulfilled lives. Absolutely crazy, right?
Nowadays it’s hard to believe that the world even functioned before there was Internet. It certainly wouldn’t if we cut ourselves off from it all now. In fact, I can already feel the withdrawal symptoms setting in (twitching thumbs, chronic boredom, etc.). Almost everything is online these days, even textbooks and homework (so if I get one thing out of this, it is an excuse not to do work) and, while it certainly makes things more convenient, at times like these I start to wonder if maybe I am over dependent on the internet.
I can’t remember the last time I went a full day without checking my phone or going online. Even now all I want to do is get on Facebook to make sure that somehow I am not the only person left on the planet. It’s more than a little weird to simply be alone with myself because how often are we really? When was the last time I needed to deal with myself when I had a million other people to distract me? As long as I’ve got my phone on me I am only a Snapchat away from a conversation or a distraction.
So now I’m stuck here, in this personal purgatory, but at least I’m not actually alone. Perhaps I can ask my grandparents for some tips, or I could figure out what other offline functions this computer is good for. What a world of possibility. Perhaps this no-Internet thing isn’t so bad after all.