Today I arrived at the office with the usual morning ritual in mind. My workday starts with checking the company customer service inbox. Fine. I read a few emails and replied to confirm orders as I entered them into the computer system.

Then a strange thing happened. Every confirmation came back as “Undeliverable Mail”. And none of the emails were received later than last night! Not good. Our IT department informed us the communications company suffered “a major fiber connectivity outage” to the whole area.

I could have stayed in bed! My presence was totally superfluous at this point. I felt like an appendage with no sense of touch or purposeful function.

Since the phones were likewise down, I decided to go online and check my personal emails. Writing took precedence last night so I expected quite a few replies were in order.

Oh, I realized, that’s right! We have no voice or data service. Duh…

So I considered checking into spring vacation reservations. I have my cell phone. Would it be so bad talking to a real live person for verification? But then I remembered that all the information was accessible only via the internet. Not even the resort name had been scrawled on a scrap of paper.

I went back to my latest story as a result, which saved an otherwise pointless morning and turned out to be time well spent. This helpless feeling got me to think about my habits, though.

Months ago this part of the US went through an extended power outage and I felt proud occupying my mind just fine with pen and paper. Electric lights weren’t really missed as long as I had a candle. If ink ran out I could switch to pencil.

Today I discovered that things are very different when the electricity is on. Having a world of information at my fingertips has become an unconscious expectation.

Sure I didn’t suffer withdrawal in this morning’s on-again, off-again moments without connectivity. Yet I can’t help wondering how I’d react over a long term lapse. I think instead of questioning my weakness, I’ll post this blog and go check a writers’ forum.

7 thoughts on “Internet Addiction – Who? Me?

  1. Yikes! I know what you mean, when our routine is suddenly disrupted. On the other hand, I like that it prompted you to think about your routine and make lemonade out of lemons. Nicely done!

  2. Yes, things can really change quickly in such a short amount of time. I'm not sure what I'd do without electricity. Except, you know, sleep…

  3. I appreciate the kind comment, Noony. I guess I did make lemonade. Cool! And I have a confession, Lucius, we had a small generator that ran radios and a portable DVD player at night. There's nothing like watching zombie movies when the world around you has turned dark and still. I woke at every snapping twig. Heh…

  4. I think my world would change dramatically if there was no internet. I would be sad, no friends from the northern hemisphere to chat with. I was without my computer for ten days a year of so ago. I kept looking at the spot where it lived with longing and I tried to practice patience…ha! I had a really, really clean house though. :))

  5. Dilo says:

    Great piece, and so timely. Our internet was getting flaky after I emailed you earlier. I immediately went through my mental computer emergency checklist – Is it just certain applications? Do my other two computers have the same problem? Is it the phone line? Then, the various solutions and backup plans come to mind. Yes, I'm addicted, but I try to have a plan for dry spells. Electricity isn't a problem here – plenty of backups and alternatives – but that doesn't help when no one is on the other end of the line!

  6. Eaton, it is rewarding to have friends in places you may never see. An artist in Japan has been kind enough to share his experiences with me. It's interesting! And I'm so glad to know you through this high tech gadgetry, even if I'm sometimes a bit lost in it.

    Dilo, I hope your connection is okay. We got a generator but haven't wired it into the house yet as my dad advised. If he weren't in Florida he'd probably drive the three hours from the summer home and do it for me. We're planning to hire an electrician no matter how easy he claims it to be!

  7. Nikki M says:

    Thank goodness for pen and pencil! In some ways your post actually made me think of all those disaster movies where survival is a huge issue, let alone creativity and connectivity.

    This may not seem related, but we recently had a bluetooth law go into effect here in OR. While I was working across the street from my apartment, this was not a problem. Now I'm out of touch for two 45-min periods every day, and suddenly I couldn't just pick up my phone and call someone. I was completely discombuberated for a couple of days (and of course instantly stopped needing to call anyone as soon as I got my bluetooth speaker hooked up, lol)

    You are aboslutely right that we take the ability to get connected instantly for granted. Thanks for sharing, Darla!

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