Broken Connections

DSC01566I have never thought of myself as a huge fan of technology.  I get annoyed at people who spend too much time staring at their tablets or cell phones; I prefer to shop at real stores rather than buy things off the internet, and according to my son, I have absolutely no understanding of what Wi-Fi is.  So I was a little surprised by just how much my life was disrupted recently when a storm that blew through town knocked out my cable and internet connection for over two days.

At first, I didn’t mind when I realized that the cable was out, meaning I couldn’t watch television or log on to the internet on my computer or phone.   For one thing, I was just grateful that our house had power, since so many of the homes and businesses in our area didn’t.  (Some lost their power for days, ours was out only for two hours.) And I kind of liked the unexpected break from technology, especially since it meant I had more time to do things like read a good book and tackle some of the chores that have been on my to-do list for a long time.  I never quite realized just how much time I wasted “surfing the net” until I suddenly couldn’t do it anymore.  And I may have lost my instant access to the news, but that meant that I was also less stressed and worried than I usually am when I actually know what’s going on in the world.

For a while, I was feeling a little smug about how well I was coping without my cable TV and my internet access.  But I’m embarrassed to admit that it wasn’t very long before I was also feeling a bit anxious.  We had no service on Thursday, which is one of my usual days to publish a blog post.  I actually began to fret about not doing that, as though thousands of readers around the world were going to be logging onto my blog, only to be disappointed to find no new post.  Worse, I had no way of reading or commenting on the many blogs I follow, and worried that I might be offending my fellow bloggers by my absence.  (Because no one can possibly feel they have a successful blog unless they know I’m reading it, right?)  I’ve gone “off the grid” before, but I was always able to let people know ahead of time.

I was supposed to go out to eat with some friends, and  wanted to call the restaurant beforehand to make sure they had power. My first thought was to check their website to get the phone number.  Only I couldn’t do that with no internet, and I also couldn’t remember what I did with all my old phone books.  I needed to buy airline tickets for an upcoming trip, but I knew I didn’t have the patience to try to do that over the phone, since it seems that most airlines have exactly three customer service representatives answering their phones these days and calling them usually means waiting on hold for a day or two.  In short, I kept thinking of things I needed to do, and wanted to do, but no longer actually knew how to do without the help of the internet.

Which brought me to a rather startling realization.  I may not have any idea how my computer or cell phone actually works, and may believe that WiFi is something that exists solely to allow me to play solitaire on the internet, but I have become just as dependent upon technology as everyone else.  I like to think of myself as an old-fashioned sort who has a “take it or leave it” attitude towards technology, but that’s just a sham.  I never thought it could happen, but I’ve become addicted to the internet.  And as far as I know, there’s no twelve-step program to help me cope.

 

42 thoughts on “Broken Connections

    • I agree, and trust me, I was horrified! And the sad thing is, it doesn’t even make us happy. When I get up from spending an hour at my computer, I am usually rather depressed and anxious. So why do it?

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  1. I have to admit I’m one of those who is never far from my iPhone (usually in my pocket or wherever I’m sitting) and instead of reading one of the several books on my nightstand that I “couldn’t wait to read”, or picking up my guitar or sitting at the piano. I usually opt for my lap top to catch up on email and like you, there are bloggers I follow (such as you!) that I want to keep up on and I too feel badly if they are aware of my absence (because like you my “likes” and comments are very profound and insightful!). 🙂 There must be some balance somewhere but I haven’t found it yet but now living in an area where the pace is slower I hope to relax and be less reliant on technology. In other words, “put the lap top down and step away from the keyboard”. Would you be willing to send your posts to me in the US Mail? 🙂

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    • Yes, that is what I aspire too as well, “put the lap top down and step away from the keyboard!” And of course I am willing to send you posts in snail mail! Just give you your address…LOL! Meanwhile, know that I completely understand when I don’t see your comments or likes. I just assume you are spending time with Kali and Kloe! (which I have probably spelled wrong, but you know what my memory is.)

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  2. Yes, you don’t realise how important that ‘channel’ to the outside world is until suddenly it closes. The only thing I’ve found in the past is to keep on writing, in pencil on paper, as if you were still talking to your internet friends, then you’ve got stuff to post when the power does come back. But isn’t it amazing how little you want to read or catch up on all the none technological tasks when you’ve got no choice? 😱

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  3. I hear you Ann. It is just a sign of the times we live in don’t beat yourself up too much. 😉. Lets just try every day to seek balance and cherish good personal moments with people. ❤️

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  4. Lol…you’re so funny, Ann. I can see the realization of what you were missing the more I read. It’s very true, whether we care to admit it or not, we have become more dependent on technology tha. We realize. Maybe not in big ways but in small ways that make our lives a bit easier. I’m glad everything is back to normal and order is restored in your life..:)

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    • Yep! I honestly hadn’t thought I was quite so dependent, but after living for a couple of days without my internet or cable, I realized I am much more dependent than I thought, especially when it comes to comfort and convenience. I’m not so sure that’s a good thing, but it is my reality. And at least things are back to normal now!

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  5. Ann, I am right there with you. I resisted getting a smart phone for the longest time because I didn’t want to be one of those people, you know, on their phone all the time ignoring the world and people around them. I succumbed last November after attending a wedding in Miami and feeling frustrated that I couldn’t take photos and immediately post them on Facebook or order Uber through the app. Now, like you, I am somewhat addicted, though not as much as some people. By the way, your sense of humor kills me. Your posts are getting funnier and funnier and I love knowing that I’ll get a good chuckle and even an outright laugh out of many of them. Thanks!

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    • Thanks, Kim, that’s very nice of you to say! And isn’t it surprising how quickly we get addicted to things? It was years before I felt comfortable ordering anything online. I still much prefer stores (mostly so I can inspect the merchandise and also I know those stores provide jobs and stabilize my community), but now I do order tickets, etc. on line, putting my credit card number out there in cyberspace without a second thought!

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  6. We are all products of the time and place in which we live. The digital age has utterly changed the world and its inhabitants. Baby Boomers are the only generation to know the world before and after. That makes us pretty special, and deeply nostalgic.

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    • That’s a good point! I AM nostalgic about the “old days” even while I enjoy the conveniences of the internet. We can definitely say we have lived through a technological revolution!

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  7. Me too Ann! Yep, I have to admit that I’ve also become addicted to the internet. As much as I like to think I can do without it, in some shape or form I’ve become reliant on it as well. Whether it’s surfing for phone numbers, writing and reading posts it just seems a part of our life now. Think that’s why I like camping so much, getting off the grid, even just overnight, seems like the best medicine … but inevitably as soon as we’re within range I’m posting photos!! 🙂 Great post Ann.

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  8. I, too, have become more accustomed to internet usage than I liked. We were minus internet for a few days lately when our provider went belly-up, and it was disconcerting how relieved I was to have it back.

    But that’s how our society is set up. You’re expected to have internet even to adopt a dog from a shelter. I get squinty-eyed looks for not having a smart phone, although I’m drawing a line in the sand on that one.

    I can’t find my cell phone half the time anyway. The last thing I want is to have an expensive one. And the internet dependence is unattractive. For some reason, I feel better about counting on the paper tablet and paperback book in my bag. 🙂

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    • Yes, I think internet dependence is actually a little bit scary, because when we lose our connection to it, we are just so helpless! There is so much pressure to do everything…schedule our doctor appointments, do our banking, job-hunt, etc. on the internet, but no one gives much thought to how screwed we are when the system is not working, or when an account gets hacked. (I also keep something to write on in my purse, and take a book along to every appointment so I can read in the waiting room. If the power goes out, I’m still just fine!)

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