I can hear it now, ‘Life without the internet! No. Never’. Some may even say it’s impossible. I know that’s what I thought until the other day.
Lose electricity, sure. It happens here somewhat regularly around here. Kind of hard to avoid when a storm hits and the electric lines are above ground.
But to have a major internet provider have their servers go down for almost 24 hours shouldn’t happen, right?
What’s funny is that I don’t even want to rant and rave about them. Something happened that caused their servers to go down. Something which they didn’t foresee or plan for. The fact that it took so long to fix it is a bit of a mystery too, but there’s not much I could have done about it then and there’s not much complaining about it now will do.
Besides, their competitor’s reliability is even worse…
Nope, given my love of dystopian fiction this gave me the perfect opportunity to let my imagination run wild. Yes, that’s my laughter you hear. Then my laughter died when I realized that many people wondering around now can’t remember a time without the internet.
I’ll let that sink in for a moment or two…
I know we Gen-xers like to joke about it – a lot – but it’s really not funny because we’re starting to have trouble remembering what it was like to not have the internet or be connected too. And, seriously, how would the world function?
So much of our daily lives are digital now – personal and professional. More often than not our communication is via text or email. We receive our news through websites, blogs, and social media.
If we lost power, that’s one thing. That would be catastrophic on a whole other level, but what if we just lost the internet? How many businesses would just cease to exist because they have no way to function? How many people would just stand around and stare blankly at the trees? How many people would actually have to work because they have no other distractions? How many relationships would crumble because people would realize they were with the wrong person? How many relationships would be repaired simply because the two people would be forced to have an actual conversation?
I’m not saying the internet is bad or evil or should be avoided at all cost. As I’ve just demonstrated the internet has become a crucial part of our society. Without it many businesses wouldn’t be able to function and, sadly, many people would stop having a reason to live.
But like any dystopian story, this would be when a band of plucky survivors – mostly Gen-xers – would step up and say, ‘We’ve got this! We can live without knowing when every celebrity picks their nose or drives drunk. We can live without hearing every whiny politician bash the current administration. We can live without our fingers being glued to tiny alphabet keys.’
Now, keep in mind that in this scenario we still have power, we still have landlines, and we still have a working infrastructure. We can still hop in our cars and drive to McDonald’s. We can still fly anywhere in the world. We just don’t have the use of the internet.
I won’t lie. When it happened to me the other day I panicked. I felt this deep-seated fear and wondered what the hell I was going to do all day. It’s the only post I’ve missed in almost a year. I looked around my house with this bewildered look on my face like I had nothing else to do.
Then, as any good Gen-xer would do I mentally slapped myself a couple of times and adjusted. It was a beautiful, sunny day. There was plenty of yard work to do. More importantly, R.J. was home and for once not glued to his computer. So we talked. We took a stroll down memory lane and confirmed that our choice to be together was the right one. We realized what we have and were grateful.
We had the time to do that.
So now I wonder what would happen if we set aside a day every now and then to be an internet and device-free day. I know life wouldn’t end. I know I wouldn’t be bored to tears. I know that the earth wouldn’t stop spinning – maybe slow down a bit…
And that’s okay. Being disconnected isn’t the end of the world.