Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Interwebz Junkie

It was working fine this morning. My internet. I got to sign in as I usually do, check my e-mail and the forums I follow, and Facebook, of course. I made it just a quick check as I wanted to do some other things today.

Then I had my breakfast and my usual morning anxiety attack started. So I thought, "I'll just sign in for a little while until I calm down."

The first sign that something was dreadfully wrong was that I noticed my cell phone had no signal. I queried M.; his didn't either. At that point, we both tried to sign on the 'net again. And it was completely down. error messages on every page. No forums, no e-mail, no Facebook--nothing.

My palms began to sweat. My breathing got heavier and heavier. I felt distinctly in pain, all over my body. All the symptoms of withdrawal from some terribly addictive drug: I had them. "Fine," I thought, "we have to go to the grocery store anyway. I'll get dressed."

Somehow I managed it despite the rising tide of fear that I was cut completely off from the world. That's when the knife cut deeper. We're on food stamps and these days your food stamp balance is carried on a little plastic card much like a credit card. Just to make sure--not that we thought the problem would reach so far, but just to be sure--we called the store, which is ten miles down the road. Nope, they told us; their card readers weren't working. This problem was all over the valley, it seemed.

My sweating became heavier at this point. The whole valley cut off from the outside world, as in some post-apocalyptic nightmare?

I had never really considered how much I rely on my computer internet connection to get me through my day. Nor had I really thought much of what would happen if we no longer had 'net access--not just in my house, but all over the place. I finally understand the people who were so upset over the Y2K scare. It could happen. For a while, here, it did happen.

We learned later, when M. took our last $20 down to the store to buy potatoes for tonight's stew, that someone had busted a fiber-optic cable somewhere and that's why the phones and the internet were both involved. The initial estimate was two hours to fix it. It took something more like eight. But what if it had been an insoluble problem?

I suppose this is the main reason people go wireless. My in-laws had internet all day. I actually had thoughts of going over to their house and booting them off their system so I could get access. Which just shows what lengths a junkie will go to to get a fix.

So, I admit it: I am an internet junkie. Without my connection I am lost.

I suppose there are worse things I could be.

No comments: