This delay in posting this blog is thanks to a sudden and complete lack of internet. We moved house last week and – while our new internet provider promised us we would be back online in moments – as always reconnecting to the net has taken a couple of weeks, countless emails, and approximately 4 hours on the phone waiting to speak to what is apparently their lone consultant, while their hold system regales us with music that can only be described as “low-budget 70’s porn movie soundtrack”.
As anyone who has gone checking their email before breakfast to total modem silence can tell you, it’s hard to adjust to a life offline. Little things such as paying bills, checking your bank balance and looking up information (“hey, when is George R. R. Martin‘s next book due out anyway?”*) go from instant to impossible.
You move through the 5 stages of internet loss**.
Stage one – denial and isolation. This can’t be happening. You need to send email. You have to log-in to work. You have to log-in to Twitter and Facebook. You have to check the news; the Zombie Apocalypse could have started and you wouldn’t know. Signs of stage one include relentlessly pressing F5 on your browser and nagging your partner by repeatedly asking if the modem is definitely plugged in.
Stage two – anger. How the hell could this happen? Don’t they know there are bills you need to pay, and whole pages of Lolcats being updated daily? How can they do this to you? You have no idea what’s happening in the world – what do they expect you to do, buy a news-paper? What if there are zombies outside? You just don’t know – you’d be eaten in moments! Do they WANT you to be eaten? That’s just brilliant customer service right there, isn’t it.
At Stage 2, you spend large amounts of time on hold composing vindictive customer complaints in your head, swearing loudly at bad jazz music and shouting, before being REALLY POLITE to the consultant as they are the only person who can help you.
Stage three – bargaining. Alright, this is bad situation, but maybe you can make it better. You could see if there is a wireless hotspot… but you can’t the web to find out. How about asking the zombies if they have internet in their old homes? Maybe you could go to another internet provider? Hey, if you just check how much their data packages cost – oh wait, you can’t as you have no net connection. ARGH.
Stage four – depression. Screw it. You have burned through all your mobile phone’s minutes while on hold and all its data to stay on top of urgent emails, and you can’t use Skype to call them as you have no internet. You can’t get online. You can’t do anything. You might as well just sit here freezing in the dark and let the zombies eat you. Yes, the heating and lights are working fine. But that’s NOT THE POINT.
Stage five – acceptance. Well, the internet isn’t available right now. Hmph. Perhaps you could do something else instead? Like read that book you’ve been meaning to get to? Or finally tidy the bookshelves a bit? Maybe this doesn’t have to be so terrible after all.
Look, I’m not advocating a life free of internet. As I am hard of hearing and can’t use phones, if you took away my internet I’d never get any bills paid or order anything online, for a start, so I’d be sitting in an ice-cold darkened room with no books to read at all.
But with a little less time spent online, I have managed to get so much more done; I’ve actually read some of my massive back-log of books, for a start. While I’m delighted to finally have my connection back, in our new place we have moved the computers to a slightly less central location so we won’t be as tempted to while away all our hours on them. And we have moved our book collection to a room with a massive comfy bean bag and futon which is technically the spare bedroom but will, in fact, be our library. Which has to be a win whether the internet is working – and the zombie apocalypse has arrived – or not.
* According to Martin, a realistic estimation for finishing The Winds of Winter could be three years, but ultimately the book “will be done when it’s done“.
** This post is thanks to the Kübler-Ross model of the 5 stages of grief, which I was delighted to discover I could remember correctly from my first year in college. So at least one of the books I read then actually managed to stay in my brain.