Lori Borgman finds the funny in ev­ery­day life, writ­ing from the heart­land of the US. Now, if she could just find her car keys…

Friday - - CONTENTS -

Our colum­nist Lori Borgman took a much-needed va­ca­tion – right in her home, just mi­nus the in­ter­net.

Other than the fact that we bank, pay bills, mon­i­tor credit cards, com­mu­ni­cate with friends and fam­ily, stream tele­vi­sion, shop, read, so­cialise, read restau­rant menus and work on­line, we’ve never con­sid­ered our­selves overly de­pen­dent on the in­ter­net.

Then we lost our in­ter­net. We may be a wee more de­pen­dent than we thought.

Our ser­vice provider said it was a cen­tral line is­sue that would take a week to fix. On the bright side, as they tried to iso­late the prob­lem, they said we might have ser­vice in­ter­mit­tently – which ac­counts for the scrapes and bruises on our legs.

When­ever we saw the lit­tle green lights on the mo­dem flash, we raced to our com­put­ers. Even in the mid­dle of a meal, if we saw a flash of green, we bolted from the ta­ble, knock­ing over chairs, and lung­ing at our com­put­ers with forks still in hand.

“I’ll pay the credit card! You check the bank bal­ance!”

And then the ser­vice cut out again. Once, the lights flashed green and the hus­band hur­dled two full laun­dry bas­kets stacked atop one an­other. It would have been a spec­tac­u­lar sprint, had it not been for a pair of shoes on the other side of the laun­dry bas­kets.

The green lights had al­ready stopped flash­ing by the time he was up­right.

We tried work­ing on cell phones, but quickly went over our al­lot­ted data us­age and faced in­sane charges. We agreed not to touch them. Or even look at them.

All the nuts and bolts of our lives are neat and tidy, well-or­gan­ised, en­crypted in a vir­tual cloud that was now lash­ing us with light­ning bolts.

Other clouds hov­ered over­head. A large, dark cu­mu­lus fol­lowed the hus­band. As for me, an anvil-shaped su­per­cell sat on my left shoul­der. We were grumpy, on edge and frus­trated. It was like try­ing to style your hair for a spe­cial event with both arms in casts.

When I needed a recipe, I in­stinc­tively flew to the com­puter. Dead end. On nearby book­shelves sat two dozen recipe books. Brows­ing through them was de­light­ful.

I no longer looked up words on­line, but in a real dic­tio­nary.

We checked tem­per­a­ture and hu­mid­ity with our own skin in­stead of on­line weather apps.

Tele­vi­sion choices were lim­ited, so we pretty much shut the squawk box down.

The quiet felt like a much-needed va­ca­tion. We spent time ad­mir­ing a few sun­sets and, on sev­eral oc­ca­sions, even made eye con­tact with one an­other.

Ac­cess to cy­berspace is a marvel­lous won­der that comes at a cost. The siren call of glow­ing screens never wanes. One more thing, one

When I needed a recipe, I in­stinc­tively flew to the com­puter. Dead end. On nearby book­shelves sat two dozen recipe books

more thing. Con­stant in­ter­net ac­cess cre­ates a back­ground of con­stant ur­gency. Google is the great en­abler of con­stant dis­trac­tion.

Our ser­vice is back now. It was a great sigh of re­lief to once again cruise the high-speed lanes of cy­berspace. We can’t live with­out it, but we can do bet­ter at mas­ter­ing it in­stead of let­ting it mas­ter us.

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