So I know earlier this week I said I was super excited to have internet again at our house, and practically the first thing I did after we got hooked up was write that post for you guys. And then literally 1 hour later - the internet died (which kind of made me feel like a liar).
I could bore you guys with a long story about how it took 4 days of dealing with two different call centers that appeared to be in parallel universes, neither of which seemed to have any knowledge of the other (very Androids Dream of Electric of Sheep), but long story short - the Internet is now fixed, and we're back in business.
And it's funny, because now that I really, truly seem to have it again, I have no idea what to with it. I'm totally out of practice. My husband said the same thing. It's like, to us, there's only two websites in the world: Washington Post and CNN. When you're on a restricted data-plan, that's pretty much all there is.
But today, I realized I could actually click on stuff! Like even links that went to Youtube videos! So that was kind of cool. I saw a pretty good video of John McCain back in the 2008 pretty much living the definition of a respectful presidential candidate. Who'd of thought that was possible?
And then I got stumped again. Like, what do you do on the Internet? I finished two big editing jobs today, and I was all set to have some fun goofing on the web, but my mind was a total blank. I've gotten so used to ignoring people telling me to check something out that I literally have no idea what's trending these days.
So, with no better ideas, I just spent a good part of my Friday night watching a bunch of Jenna Marbles videos, because I remember doing that two years ago back when we lived in civilization. (Is she still a thing? See how out of date I am?)
Then I got bored again, and a little voice inside my head was like "Dude, go read a book."
But, no! I worked hard for this Internet! I wasted so much time talking to that shadow call center. I really wanted to find something to do with the Internet besides work.
And honestly, I could only think of this blog, and actually that sounded pretty good, which brings us back to the present.
So help me out, what do people do on the Internet these days? Is it all Netflix? (I draw the line there, we are not getting Netflix.) Are there Youtube videos you like? Anything decent on Amazon Prime? I'm open to suggestions, though in all honestly, I really might just go read a book.
That's right, the Wordly-Bird household has officially rejoined the 21st century after a two year hiatus.
Two years ago, my husband and I were living in downtown Durham, NC. Then we got a German Shepherd and our apartment building kicked us out (well technically, they said we could either get rid of the dog or leave, and we of course chose to leave). So we moved out to the country where the Internet wasn't super available. And after a few days of living without the Internet, my husband I agreed it was actually pretty nice. We felt generally less distracted and calmer. So we did without it. No streaming video. No Pandora or Spotify. Heck, not even Itunes. We had just enough data on our phones to read the news every day, and except for the fact I got pretty tired of my music collection, it worked pretty well for us...
...right up until I started to work from home on my science editing business 3 months ago. Since then, it's been a major hassle driving to the library to get access to the Internet when I need to market my business, or send documents to clients. Eventually, I had so many clients and deadlines that I didn't really have the time to make the half hour drive (one-way) to the library each day, so I started relying on my phone's data more and more, and basically running out every month.
Last Friday I was driving home from an errand and feeling a little stressed about the data issue again, and I had this moment of "enough." For whatever reason, I just happened to reach my tipping point that day and decided I would figure out how to connect Internet to the house. Luckily, the satellite company was running a pretty good deal ($80 a month for TV and Internet, I've never paid so little for it before!), so I signed us up, and here I am now, writing to you from our home Internet for the first time.
This must seem like the silliest, most trivial announcement ever, but if you had been living without Internet for the last two years, this would be a pretty big day for you too.
I'm excited because not only is going to help me run my business more smoothly, but having the Internet at home is going to make blogging so much easier. These past few weeks I literally haven't been able to post because I've been so busy with taking care of my husband (who's feeling much better by the way) while juggling editing deadlines that I literally haven't had a moment to upload blog posts, not even the ones I'd already written offline.
So, anyway, I'm really looking forward to being able to write and share here more easily.
That and watch cat videos :)
I miss life without cellphones.
I used to read a lot more before I could fit the Internet in my pocket. Hell, I planned to finish Childhood’s End yesterday and write a review today, but here I am, not even halfway through the book because every time I’d sit down to read, my phone would appear in my hand, tempting me to read something else.
I don’t play games. I think Facebook is boring. But a link on twitter is like a baited hook.
It’s so mindless, this consumption of information. Whether it’s an Atlantic piece about education trends, or a New Yorker profile, or the Washington Post on yet another article citing Donald Trump’s lunacy; it doesn’t matter that it’s ostensibly well written news, it’s the fact that it competes for every free moment of my life that bothers me. Longform articles are like crack. I could spend hours reading on the Internet.
And you know what goes hand in hand with this mindless reading? Mindless eating. One of my favorite things to do is pop some popcorn or make myself some toast, and then sit, eating without tasting anything, while I read and read and read on the internet. It’s not healthy to eat that way. It soothes the mind, but then my jeans don’t fit so well.
The phone has been affecting my writing too. Each morning, I get up at 4:30, pour myself a cup of coffee, and sit down to write, but again, the damn phone appears. I tell myself I need the time to wake up, and it seems so innocent, after all I’m only reading the news. But before I know it, it’s 5:30 and I’ve lost a precious hour I could have spent writing, or even sleeping.
I want the constant distraction to go away. You know how everyone’s canceling their cable? When we moved out to the country, my husband and I went a step further by canceling our Internet too (or my accurately, we just never bothered to turn it on). We both felt happier without it. All the mindless web surfing on our laptops ended. There was no more Netflix to binge watch. We read more and got further along in our projects.
But we can’t cancel our cellphones. We don’t want to be that isolated. And now it’s not even necessary to have a landline connection to the Internet. A smartphone is perfectly capable of doing just about everything you would otherwise do on a computer. So the distraction has crept right back into our lives.
I’ve started leaving my phone in random places around the house, just to make sure I can’t whip it out of my pocket at moment’s notice to distract me from whenever my brain has to really focus and think about my present task. I’d say I only have a fifty percent success rate though, as half the time, I wind up stopping whatever I’m doing just to find that stupid phone.
I’m about ready to throw it at the wall. Whatever minor convenience it is to look up a faster route home or find a decent restaurant in a new neighborhood could not possibly be worth the Soma-like effects of the Internet.
It makes me wonder what’s really bothering me? What part of my life is so upsetting that it’s preferable to blank out on the addictive combination of food and the Internet?
If I’m being honest, it’s two things: my project at work and my long commute. I’m taking steps to fix those problems, so it’ll be interesting to see how my Internet habits change after I switch jobs this summer. However, I suspect that although those problems will be fixed, there will just be another issue that makes me want to escape inside me phone. We’ll see.
Do you struggle with the Internet? It’s such double-edged sword. On the one hand, I couldn’t expand my editing business without it. On the other, it’s ruining my creativity. Very tricky.
Writer, editor, scientist.