I was thinking about something. (shocker)
Some of you already know this, and some of you don't, but I had Internet woes recently. Sadly, AT&T is my Internet provider. Long story short, my Internet connectivity started acting up ("intermittent signal strength") one Friday, a tech was supposed to come by on a Saturday and didn't; a guy finally came by that Monday afternoon and I was back up and running after he tracked down a single faulty wire outside. But this isn't my point.
I realized how quickly we've come to rely on some of this "new" technology. I know that's not a revelation, but I wanted to put it out there anyway. I still feel like cell phones and the Internet and even home computers are new, but they've been available to us common folk for over 20 years. 20 years! And they're no longer luxuries or novelties. They're the automobile and electricity of yesteryear: they're necessities.
Kids today can't do homework without Internet access. You can't fill out a job application at home without Internet access. And if you fill one out elsewhere, you still need to know how to use a computer. If you're expecting an important call, the caller is no longer satisfied with leaving a message. They expect you to be available the moment they need you. Dinner, movies, the grocery store, driving, I don't care – if I call you, you'd better pick up the damn phone. Because everyone's got a cell phone. Hell, my cats have one! (They share.) And if I can't talk to you, I'll email you, or IM you, or text you, or leave you a Facebook message. (I could rant a whole post's worth on all that crap, but I'm trying to lighten up so @Christy will still like me.)
But this isn't my point either.
My Internet was down for about four days. Three and half really. And I...was climbing...the friggin'...walls. I felt like I'd been dropped on the far side of the moon. (Not that the near side would've been any better, but you know what I mean.) I felt so out of touch and cut off. And it was ridiculous. My phone worked, my Internet worked some of the time, I saw neighbors, went to the store, watched cable TV – and still I felt completely out of it. I was almost giddy when the dude said everything was fixed. I pumped his hand and clapped him on the back. It was like I had a new lease on life. And I didn't. It was just my freakin' Internet, people!
My point (finally) is our complacency. I realized just how reliable these things truly are.
I get unreasonably frustrated when I try to make a cell phone call...and it doesn't go through. Or I try to text someone and...it won't send. Or I try to get online...and my modem is flashing that steady, smug uh-not-today-buddy red light. I'm like, "Bu-, bu-, how can this not be working?" And I forget that all this stuff works, like, 98% of the time. My body breaks more often than that. And this stuff works flawlessly. Most of the time, my calls go through without a hitch and the reception's crystal clear. My Internet access allows me hours of uninterrupted pleasure without so much as a hiccup. My computer (an obscenely overpriced but cool-as-shit iMac) is the most reliable piece of machinery I've ever owned, and works perfectly all the time with virtually no maintenance.
When these things act up (and, like all conscious, living things, they do), omigod – I'm a mess. I'm...untethered. I'm panicky. My heart starts racing, my palms sweat, my mouth goes dry. My mind starts spinning scenarios of having to replace everything I own and how I won't be able to afford to – what am I gonna doooo? – and I'll have to go to the library for the rest of my years to access the Internet and use pay phones or pester more fortunate neighbors to make phone calls and I'll have to move and start taking the bus and eating cold dinners and make do without air conditioning or running water and my cats will leave me and...AAAHHHHH!!!
So. That's what I was thinking about.
Have a nice day! :-)
(My cats don't really have cell phones. Yet.)