Disconnected (Part 3 of 3)
I’ve been thinking. If anyone is reading this then you’ll know that I used to make my living as a blogger. I wasn’t world renowned or anything, but I did okay. Now, however, with the loss of the Internet, not only have I had to find a new line of work (God bless recruitment agencies!), but I’ve also been given some pause for thought. As a blogger, I was paid to put my opinion out there into the world for other people to engage with, challenge, disagree with, what have you. But what’s the equivalent now? I suppose it would be the same as what came before the Internet: public speaking. If I wanted to try and continue life as a blogger post-Internet I’d basically have to get on my literal soapbox in the centre of town and start talking. Can you imagine? I always roll my eyes at those people who feel the need to disrupt others’ shopping, dining, etc. with their high-volume rhetoric, but was what I was doing any different? True, I didn’t shout my blog from the rooftops, but I still put my opinion out there with the belief that it meant enough to be shared. And look at me now! I’m clearly so used to having my say that I’m now filling a notepad instead of a web page.
Like I said, pause for thought.
I can’t do it! I’ve deliberately not written anything down for five days because I bummed myself out so much with my last entry, but I can’t stop! I know it makes me sound like a massive egotist, but I genuinely get something from writing my thoughts down in this way, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get some puffed-up sense of pride at the idea that one day someone might be reading this to see what the average woman-in-street was doing when the Internet went down.
A blogger to the end, I suppose. At least this little notepad stops me from stepping on to that soapbox.
On the news today, the PM declared that if the boffins and egg-heads can’t get the Internet restored within the next week then he’s pulling the plug on the whole project. Apparently, the government set up a task force to figure out how to bring the Internet back, but with budget cuts and all that they were given a deadline of a hundred days to come up with some results. Well, if their timeline is anything close to my writing, we’ve got about eight days left to see if they can pull off a miracle.
I’ll wait and see if I need to dust off my router before I get too excited.
Well, as if the pressure wasn’t already on the Internet task force, someone has managed to leak the location of their base operations to the general populace; pretty impressive in a world with (currently) no Internet. Then again, I suppose information leaks must have happened in the days before the Internet. I guess, if the Internet never comes back, I’m going to have to stop thinking in this way, assuming that things that are possible online are automatically impossible off. I mean, people got along fine for thousands of years without the Internet, but, as I’ve said before, they were living in a world before the Internet. Time will tell how well, if at all, we can live on a permanent basis in a world without the Internet. I think everyone, me included, has been assuming that this is just some sort of temporary glitch and of course the Internet is going to come back. But with the deadline now set – and I hear other countries are doing the same – the reality of a life without the Internet is becoming very much of a reality.
Now that people know where the Internet task force is located, some of them have set up a vigil for if, or when – depending on whom you ask – the Internet is brought back to life.
Here’s hoping their hope is well-placed.
Okay, I’m scared.
I think the Internet’s come back, but I don’t know if everyone – or anyone – knows. I was out and about today, replying to a text from a friend, when I was just about floored by the sight of something that I was seriously starting to think that I’d never see again.
The WiFi icon.
There I was, absentmindedly replying to a text, like I’ve done a million times before, when the little icon popped up on my phone’s screen. I nearly let out a scream. I looked around me to see if any of the people around me were seeing the same thing on their phones. It’s been so long since the Internet went down that you’d think that it suddenly coming back would spark a riot of activity, right?
This is why I’m scared. This is why I got scared in town and ran out of the coffee shop, stuffing my phone hastily back into my pocket. What if I was the only person in that place to suddenly regain Internet access? I still shudder when I think back to that poor guy who got set upon by that mob when he hoaxed about having Internet access. What would a mob like that do to me? I don’t even want to think about it, but I can’t stop thinking about it.
As soon as I got home I dug out my router – after shutting the curtains, of course – and fired up the laptop. There it was, working Internet. Back in the day I’d be straight on to my blog site, or Facebook, but the possibility that I could be back online and surrounded by a mass of Net-starved junkies gave me a real serious case of pause of thought. So I checked the news sites and they were all dated back when the Internet had originally gone down. I checked a few more sites, and the more I did the creeping sensation that I could be the only one back online started to close up my throat.
I don’t think I’ll open the curtains again today.
I didn’t get much sleep last night. I kept returning to my laptop to check to see if I’d imagined it, but no, the Internet was there in all its glory for me. Well, almost; site after site and no updates since the initial crash: no evidence that anyone else has gotten back online. I’m careful, though; really careful. I’ve not left a single comment anywhere. I’ve not shared an article or clicked Like, Retweet: nothing. With every passing hour that my TV doesn’t blare into some breaking news story about how the Internet has been restored I grow more and more frightened of what will happen if somehow it gets out that I have access. Word will travel fast, even without the Internet, and the world will converge on me for access, for answers, for God knows what. It looks like I may have the run of the whole Internet, and all I’m prepared to use it for is to keep a check on the news outlets for any glimmer that others may be back online.
I can’t be the only one. Can I?
Christ, I’m depressed.
Having the Internet back but seemingly being the only one – for now – makes me feel like I’m carrying around a terrible secret that I can never let out. I’ve not left my house since that afternoon in the coffee shop; I’m too afraid. I’ve never been a very good liar, and I’m just petrified that others will see it in my face and rumble me. I’m not keeping my mysterious restored Internet access a secret out of spite or malice, but if no one else can get back online what good will me revealing my ability to do? Again, I think back to that mob and my blood runs cold. Hell, people will happily trample each other to death for bargains in the sales, so if it got out that one lone woman in a terrace house in the Midlands had somehow found a way back online…well, there’d be pandemonium. I’d be lucky if people just came knocking at my door. Something like this wouldn’t just attract the knockers, but the shouters and the kickers to. It only takes one to light the touch paper and before you know it my little corner of the world would be a war zone.
I’m still not sleeping.
This is driving me mad! What’s the point in having access to something as vast as the Internet if you’re too afraid to use it? It’s like standing in front of a vast ocean and being too afraid to even dip a toe in the surf. Aside from refreshing the news sites I may as well be like everyone else and still be in the dark. What’s so special about me? Why have I been given the keys to the kingdom? I don’t want this! You hear me? I DON’T WANT IT!
I spent the rest of today boarding myself in here. It’s only a matter of time before someone finds out my secret. Before they tell a friend, and they tell a friend, and before you know it I’m being dragged from my bed and strung up for hording what could be the only Internet-ready computer on the planet right now. It’s thoughts like that which are keeping me up at night. I’d turn my laptop off and throw my damn router away if I could, but I can’t seem to bring myself to do it. Every time I hit refresh I hope and pray that there will be something, anything that will stop me being the only one.
I don’t want this.
I don’t know how much longer I can take this. Both off and online, I know that there are scores of people within reach of me that I’m now terrified to be around, to interact with. I’m worrying myself sick that if I step out of my house I’ll be found out within minutes. At the same time, I’m too scared to use the Internet properly in case it’s some kind of trap. What if the Internet was taken away on purpose and I’ve been chosen for some sick reason as the bait. Bait for what though I’ve no idea. Well, if this is someone’s idea of a joke, or some kind of government experiment I want out.
Day One Hundred:
I’m done. I can’t do this anymore. The weight is killing me. I’ve packed a bag, left a letter for my Mom, and left my laptop logged in. Let them find it. I don’t care. I refuse to be the one they poke and prod and bombard with questions and accusations when it comes out that I’ve had Internet access given back to me. I can’t, I won’t do it.
I’m going to leave this notebook on the bus. Whoever finds it can do with it what they will.
I’m logging off.