By Trina Machacek
I have just found the coolest button on my computer. Okay so I didn’t just find it. I knew it was there but I haven’t used it as much as I should. It’s the off button. When was the last time you used the off button on your computer? It has been quite a while for me. I have become trained by that illuminating light. Wistfully calling me, “Come on just sit for a minute or two and check out the latest sightings from the Mars rover…” I rather like the off button when I choose to use it.
Then. Recently I stayed at a hotel that of course had Wi-Fi. It wasn’t the best service and although my laptop would connect the signal was too weak to feed my plastic box enough information to load any pages. So for three days, since I am the only person in the world without a smart phone or I phone or any specialized phone that puts the world in your hand, I was without the internet. I was completely www-less.
I’ve been told I need to upgrade my flip phone to some fancy smanchy phone that “does it all.” A phone and a service that would let me be connected everywhere all the time. Uh, for a large nominal fee of course. I say my little red phone at twenty nine dollars a month is fine. Even though you need a magnifying glass to see the pictures that come across on the tiny, tiny screen.
Oh I thought about going to the hotel office that first night and complaining. But I was already in my pj’s and fuzzy socks. I didn’t think a woman dressed as I was marching down the hall, down the stairs around the corner to the front desk was appropriate. I have developed this aversion to the phone so I didn’t even think of calling and asking what the deal was with the weak signal. So I went without. For a while I felt kinda like Oliver, you know from that movie Oliver. Maybe if I held my plastic box up and asked, “could have some more please,” magically I would get a strong enough signal to connect me to the world!
I think there must be way to be “connected” anywhere you are. I see people with their noses stuck to a screen in all manner of places. Yes even the restrooms. That is just too icky! I’m not sure the outhouse would have been the same, in the day of the outhouse, if the internet was in there with you in the family one-holer. Would we never have had the Sears & Roebuck catalog? And if not what would have happened in there if you ran out of toilet paper? Again, just too icky to think about!
For three days I was without the electronic world. It helped that I was busy during the days but the evenings were out of whack. The first night I tried to hook up. It didn’t work. But I was tired from the day so I just crashed. Didn’t have much of any withdraws. The second night I tried again to establish communications with the world. Especially my e-mail. But no luck. It felt strange and eerie. Oh the TV was on but it just wasn’t the same without that blue light flickering in my eyeballs. Information of no real consequences being bombarded into my brain. No electronic fireworks being thrown my way after winning a game of solitaire. I know I can play off line but not being able to toggle from game to internet just wasn’t the same.
So the next morning I put the lap top in my car and left it there for the third night. It was like leaving an old friend in the back seat, covered with an old sweater, hiding from any wayward peepers.
My hope was, out of sight out of mind.
On that last night I found myself okay without the plastic box running my life. Yes I was anxious to see my e-mail. I love getting notes from people. And yes I missed checking to see where the latest earthquake was happening on a site I check just because I can. I gave a thought to looking at the weather site, the news, price of gold, shopping on Amazon but not buying because I really don’t need anything, I’m just looking. Now as I sit here and see what I am doing on the internet I see just how silly it is. I mean, earthquakes around the world? Really? The price of gold? I’ll never catch a leprechaun so I will never have a pot of gold. Why do I do these silly things? Not sure but I rather enjoyed the departure from the world wideness of the web.
Trina lives in Eureka. Share with her at firstname.lastname@example.org