Disconnected (Part 1 of 3)
The world ended yesterday.
Okay, so maybe the world didn’t end, but it might as well have. We lost the Internet, you see. It’s gone, finished, kaput. Whoever said you don’t truly appreciate something until it’s gone damn well knew what they were talking about. I can’t remember who said it. I’d Google that shit, but, you know.
Right, if I’m going to get into the swing of writing stuff down I need to be more disciplined. I used to be a blogger, for Christ’s sake! Why is it so much harder to remember to write things down by hand than it ever was to post it online? I know I could still type it on my laptop, but without the Internet what’s the point? Computers were our doorway to the Internet, so without being able to go online, what are they? Expensive bloody typewriters, that’s what!
I completely forgot to introduce myself, didn’t I? My name’s Christine, but most people call me Chrissie. I don’t really know why I’m doing this, but the 21st Century world losing its access to the Information Superhighway (heh, remember when they used to call it that?) feels like a pretty big deal, and I reckon people should be writing about it. I’m sure others are writing things down, like I am. God, I hope they are. No one asked me to start this…journal? Diary? Whatever. I was just so dumbstruck at not being able to get online that I had to do something to stop from going crazy. Words have always helped, so here’s hoping they help in this instance.
Fingers crossed, eh?
Jesus, I miss Facebook!
Someone once told me this about writing: write every word as if someone else is going to read it. Sounds kind of pretentious, doesn’t it? But who else am I talking to besides myself? I have to assume that at least one other person is going to read these words. I have no grand illusions of these pages becoming some inspirational tome that people will draw strength and energy from; I’m just a girl trying to cope with being booted out of the Twitterverse. I mean, isn’t that what social media is – pardon me, was – all about: putting words out there in the hope that others would read them? I know, I know, it’s a vain pursuit of gratification and acceptance, so sue me!
Yeah, sue me. But you’ll have to send that shit by snail mail. Ain’t no e-mail anymore, baby.
Been a few days, huh? I’ve been trying to get out and about to take my mind off things. It’s crazy; everything in the world is exactly the same as it was before. The only difference is that there’s no Internet. We still have electricity, people are still going to work – well, some of them are – and we’re still managing to feed and clothe ourselves. It’s weird how things are so similar and yet so different. I guess this is what life was like before the Internet came along. I’d ask how people managed but of course they weren’t managing, were they? They lived in a world before the Internet. We’re now in one without it.
I’d put this all into some kind of context for whomever may be reading this, whenever they may be reading it, but I can’t. I simply can’t. There was no event to speak of. No cataclysm that brought the Internet to its knees. One day it was there, the next it wasn’t. Everything was tried, it seems. Everything. Stuff was turned off and on again (hello, IT?), routers were checked, servers were overhauled, the works. Nothing did the trick. It was like God, assuming the existence of an all-knowing deity with one seriously fucked up sense of humour, just clicked their fingers one day and said:
And Lo, There Shalt Be No Internet.
Thanks a lot, God. I’m missing my Netflix shows because of you.
Shit just got real.
Some guy was beaten to death not half a mile from here for claiming to have Internet access when he didn’t. Poor sap. He probably thought it would make a pretty funny hoax. The mob that descended on him didn’t think it funny when no connectivity was produced. It’s scary. We’re supposed to be people, not animals. What’s the difference, though, right? I remember reading somewhere – once again, can’t Google it – that if you deprive a culture of food and/or water for three days you’ll have anarchy. I guess it takes just under three weeks for a culture to go insane off the back of no Internet.
Like I said, scary. I think I’ll nip into the loft at some point today and get my brother Shaun’s old cricket bat out. Can’t be too careful.
I felt safe enough to venture out of the house today, although I did take Shaun’s bat with me. I thought I’d get some funny looks, but instead I saw people with golf clubs, baseball bats, and one guy with a sword. Winter is coming, eh? God, that would have made a cracking meme. I guess that’s a word that will slip into obscurity: meme. Assuming we never get the Internet back. What a frightening thought. Also, the fact that it’s such a frightening thought is frightening in of itself.
I need a coffee. I hope the folks at Costa don’t think I’m going to try and rob them just because I’m carrying a cricket bat. Worse, I hope no one asks me to play cricket with them. I’m rubbish at that game.
A thought occurred me to while I was out yesterday. I’ve never seen the high street so busy! Well, maybe at Christmas, but this was a Wednesday afternoon when it’s normally dead. Looks like the Internet being gone could be what saves the Great British High Street. I’m sure some would call that a silver lining. People seem to browse less than they used to, though. I guess Internet shopping spoiled them, but when I was out people were in and out, in and out. Gone was the idling at shop windows. The digital age seems to have sped life up to a right old pace. I think I finally get what my Granny – rest her soul – used to say about the world getting faster and her not being able to keep up.
Wish you were here, Gran. This would be giving you a chuckle, for sure.
OMG!!! You’ll never guess what just happened! Some randomer knocked on my door asking if he could see my boobs! Can you believe it? I mean, I know the Internet’s gone and all and that means so has all the online porn, but seriously? Who does that? Who goes up to stranger’s houses asking to see a flash of tit? Well, this guy, clearly. The level of dependency the Internet had us under is really starting to show. I mean, it’s not as if the Internet was the only place a person could get their filthy mitts on some porn, for crying out loud! Go down to your local newsagent and buy a Razzle, or take a trip to your friendly neighbourhood adult shop! Don’t come knocking me up – poor choice of words, I know – wanting me to whip my top off. Jog on, mate.
A whole month with no Internet. It feels like the world is still reeling from it, and, honestly, I’m still not quite sure how to feel about it. I was shocked at first, sure. Then I was angry and frustrated. Then I got a little embarrassed about how much of my life I actually lived online. I stayed in touch with friends via e-mail and Facebook, most of my entertainment was streamed or bought online, I banked online, I flirted online (hey, a girl’s gotta have some fun), I tweeted, I blogged. I even vlogged once, and in a heartbeat it was gone. There are those who are saying this is the end of mankind; others say it’s just the beginning. I think I’m still a little on the fence. I still miss it, most definitely, but I think I can see some of the benefits to us not being so glued to our computers and devices. I don’t know, maybe this is what they mean by swings and roundabouts. Odd phrase that. I wonder what its original meaning was…?
Having that guy ask to see my boobs the other day got me thinking about relationships. Funny how the mind works, isn’t it? Basically, we’re going to have to, as a culture, retrain ourselves to socialise, aren’t we? Think about it, today you can meet people online so easily through social media, or you could. You could get all of the awkwardness out of the way screen-to-screen before you ever plucked up the courage to meet face-to-face. I know that newspapers still have classified pages – I just know, okay, I’m in no way admitting to using them – but for all those people out there who got themselves hooked on Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, SnapChat, Tinder, and on and on, what are they going to do? I have this funny image of people meeting in bars and cafes, only able to speak to one another by writing on Post-It Notes and leaving them for others to find. It’s sweet, but kind of sad, really. I don’t know, maybe the Internet leaving us will force people to brush up on their basic social skills, which, judging by Boobie Boy the other day, wouldn’t be a bad thing.
Note to self: buy Post-Its :p
Ugh! No matter what happens, parking at the local supermarket is always going to be a nightmare. I miss online shopping, damn it!
Headline of the day: Local Teen Admitted to Hospital for Withdrawal Symptoms for Online Gaming. Come on, really? I mean, I tried World of Warcraft once and couldn’t get my head around it. And the language? Oh my God! I’m a pretty liberal woman, but some of the things people used to say to each other over the Internet was just plain vile! So, maybe chalk up another positive point for the Internet being gone: people have less opportunity to be shitty to one another. Don’t get me wrong, people will always be shitty to others; sadly it’s in our nature, but now we’ve been robbed of the anonymity that the Internet provided it seems people are less inclined to spew so much bile into the world.
Suck on that, trolls!
Today I did something that I’ve not done for a long time. I went to the library. I know, I sound like Hermione Granger, don’t I? But seriously, it was so weird being surrounded by books again. I honestly think the last time I was in a library was when I was at university, and even then I mainly went in there to use the computers. I felt a little ashamed when I left, actually, because my local library is within easy walking distance of my house and this is the first time I’ve ever gone in there. I’m not making excuses; I just never needed to go in before, not with the Internet at my fingertips. Anything I wanted to know was a Google search away, and, on those rare occasions when Google didn’t come up trumps, all I had to do was post a question on Twitter or Facebook and I’d have scores of answers within minutes.
But you should have seen the look on the librarian’s face! Happy as a pig in a certain substance. Granted, it took quite a while to check the book out that I wanted, as their systems were all online until very recently, but the lady behind the desk – who was so lovely – said that she couldn’t remember the library ever being so full. She regaled me with tales of woe about library closures up and down the country and how the Internet going down was a blessing in disguise for the forlorn local library. She said that she hoped the Internet never came back.
I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone mean something so much as she did then.
Bollocks! My library book is overdue!
While I’m touching upon things that haven’t happened to me in a while, I got a letter the other day. A real, honest-to-God, handwritten letter. It was from my Mum and it was so sweet I found myself welling up as I read it. Not because of what she said but because of what it was. This was a tangible piece of communication that someone had taken time and effort over. My Mum had personally sat down to write to me – using the good notepaper, I noticed – and taken the trouble to take that letter to the post box at the end of her road and drop it through the slot. It’s such a simple thing, but I’m so touched. I never got that feeling from an e-mail, not really. Yes, I’ve received some touching, moving, and even heart-rending e-mails in my time, but a letter has more…weight. It’s a physical object, and that seems to make it mean something greater. Blimey, I really am starting to sound pretentious. I’d better hold my breath if I’m going to disappear this far up my own arse!
But before that happens, I’m going down the Post Office to buy some stamps so that I can write back to my Mum.
Sent a reply letter off to my Mum today. My hand has finally gotten used to me writing all the time and stopped hurting.
But bloody hell! How expensive are stamps these days?
Highway robbery, I tell you!
I saw on the news today that Google and Yahoo! are making scores of people redundant. Stands to reason, I suppose. What’s going to keep the lights on in an Internet business when there is no Internet? I also heard that things aren’t going too well in the Apple camp, either, but that they’re trying desperately to diversify. Someone in town said that Apple were going to try and move into farming and agriculture. Interesting. I wonder if they’ll grow…apples. I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist! Low-hanging fruit, and all that!
I should have been a comedienne.
I remembered today that I had some money in my PayPal account. Now how the hell am I going to get that back?
Time to make a phone call, me thinks.
Day Fifty-Seven (continued):
Still on hold with PayPal…