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Cold Turkey

Right…  Hello again imaginary reader!  I haven’t ignored you, rather I’ve been dealing with a few technical gremlins and in the process made a rather alarming discovery.  My access to the magical world of the inter-web is via mobile broadband.  This is in part due to economy but also cos I have to confess I like the notion of freedom it gives.  True, it is rare that I actually lug my old, and therefore quite cumbersome, laptop to an independent coffee shop and sit, like someone in a sitcom, working intently on my magnum opus.  I’ve never stayed in touch with the world from the top of a mountain because I am lazy and suspect the signal will be useless…   I did once send an email from the garden but in general I tend to  go to Starbucks to chat with friends and sit on my sofa, as I am right now, with my laptop precariously balanced on my legs to surf the internet.

The internet is a very magical thing – I am old enough to remember my first moment online.  It was at university during my freshers week induction and you got a demo of how to access your university email as part of the library tour.  This was back in the dark ages, also known as 1995, when we had word-processors or had to book time in one of the many computer rooms on campus when we needed to write essays.  As the song in Avenue Q so beautifully evokes, people really could be found “sitting in the computer lab at 4am before the final paper is due” – or some English equivalent where we remember to add an ‘s’ at the end of the word maths on account of being forced to solve more that the one sum…  I remember how slow dial up was and yet how exciting email was, after it had taken 3 minutes to download what turned out to be a welcome message from MSN.  I remember the first excerpt of a song I listened to – well the full one would have taken 30 minutes to download – and how hi-tech that seemed.  And all of that really wasn’t that long ago.  I’m talking about the late 90’s when Pulp and Blur were in the charts and the  sitcoms on Channel 4 were amusing…

OK, this really is getting into wistful old lady territory.  I mention this only to emphasise how unsettling I found it that I really couldn’t seem to function without the internet when my local TMobile receiver crashed for the bank holiday weekend.  They only took a few days to fix it – well after the 6 hours it took for them to exonerate my laptop and dongle from the blame – but this left me without PC and phone internet.  I still had food and light, books, clothing and even a telephone.  Yet I was stuck, really stuck.  Everything I tried to do seemed to warrant some kind of brief online investigation – what time did the movie start, when were the shops open, how is the traffic, what other things has that actor been in, what other things can I do with the courgette mountain growing in the garden…  I tried to find many of these solutions in books but others just needed the more up-to-the-moment information that only the internet can provide.  I was in internet cold turkey detox.

I started to note down the ‘important things I would need to look up later’ only to realise none of it was important at all – and then this wonderfully long weekend opened up.  Without the hours spent playing on my phone and PC I caught up with reading, started a sewing project I’d been procrastinating over and even cleaned out my wardrobe.  I vowed to be a reformed character and not get sucked into the appropriately named world wide web once service was resumed.  Well, the internet came back on Tuesday night.  I checked my emails and closed the laptop shut.  I tried to read a book then decided I should just have a quick look at the news online…  The rest is history – I am not the reformed character I tried to be.  I’ve not even done the things I should have done online yet – bills are unpaid, jobs not hunted for and my blog…  Ah, well actually I think that one job has been done.  I better try and do the other things – as soon as I’ve checked the movie news first……

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