B is for Bloody Hell the Internet is Dead!

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Nothing, and I mean nothing, is as irritating as my Internet access dying.

I suppose I have the parastatal behemoth of Telkom to thank. Thanks Telkom, you really know how to make a girl’s day.

I got the Internet in 1994. It was necessary because my boyfriend was moving to another country and I would just die without being able to email him. I had a dial-up modem, used Pegasus Mail and searched using something called a worm.

Since then, it has become more necessary to me than a mobile phone (which I can happily dispense with).

Nowadays people don’t even know what the Dewy Decimal System is, let alone know how to find something in an index card file system.

In fact, I have my doubts most kids even know what a library is.

Now that is a fact I find terribly sad. When I had a school project my mother dropped me off at the Johannesburg Reference Library. She showed me to the door and said, “Everything you need to know is in here.” And then she left.

As a result I can find a needle in a haystack, even on Google.

The answers you find are all in how you phrase the question.

It is a metaphor for life really. How profound. I should copyright that.

Not having access to the Internet now feels as though I have lost my right arm.

Even my ability to think seems to slow.

A fast beat of panic rises like bile in my throat.

What if someone sends me an email?

What if someone tags me on Facebook?

What if one of the bloggers I follow posts a new article?

Will my carefully constructed virtual world begins to crumble around my ears?

It sounds as silly as it is, but my real world has become increasingly small. Family, work and maybe a tiny fragment carved out for friends. Sadly, most of the latter are spread across the world and have lives as frantic as mine, so our friendships are reliant on the Internet and time zones.

The Internet has introduced me to friends I have never even met, but probably know better than many of the people I see face-to-face every day. It has made my insular world a little less insular.

To throw down the gauntlet and be perfectly honest, I suffer from social phobia. Don’t get me wrong I love people, I love meeting them and chatting to them, I just don’t like lots of them in an environment totally out of my control.

I also have crippling anxiety attacks in supermarkets, restaurants and shopping malls. Online shopping was invented for me. If only it was a little better in my neck of the woods.

The Internet for all its foibles, psychopaths and weirdos is just a mirror image of our society. If you don’t like it online, have a look around you. What you dislike may be a little harder to see in your nice suburb, but it is still there.

Damn, now it occurs to me that I can’t post this article and will have to save it on a flash drive and take it to work with me tomorrow.

How very droll.

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