When people go away on holiday, they almost always express a sense of happiness and relief on being back home, regardless of the quality of the holiday. “I missed my bed”, they say. “It’s good to be able to shower in a familiar bathroom again.” I am no exception to this, except that my happiness usually comes from the fact that I have access to the internet again. Sure, there may be a working wifi connection wherever it is you go on holiday, but nothing beats being able to come back and log into that familiar network you trust and depend on, knowing that you can just sit down in the comfort of your favourite chair and get lost in the beautiful vortex that is the internet for however long you wish.
So you can imagine my dread when I came back from a short trip to find that the internet connection at home was dead. Just like that. No chance to check my email or catch up on what my friends were up to on Facebook or Instagram. No messenger service to even let others know that I had no internet connection. Suddenly, I felt handicapped. Do you ever feel like your life revolves around a working, high-speed internet connection? I do, all the time. And without warning, someone had pulled the plug on my lifeline and opened up hours I did not know how to fill. I couldn’t blog, I couldn’t watch my shows, I couldn’t browse job sites, I couldn’t Skype with anyone, I couldn’t listen to music on international radio. I was paralysed.
And yet, here I am, two days later… alive. I survived. How did I do it? Looking back, it’s all a blur. I read. I took long walks outside and spent my time thinking. About what? I couldn’t tell you… I’ve forgotten most of it since I got my wifi back. I watched television! (I haven’t watched anything on an actual TV set since the day I realised I could watch everything I wanted on my computer.) I watched a tennis match and actually enjoyed myself. I engaged in small talk. I sat on the balcony and watched people go by. I helped cook meals and I actually tasted my food. I listened to the sound of my own breathing, felt my heart beating against my chest.
Without my knowing it, I passed the time. I survived. No… I lived. This afternoon, some people came over and fixed our wifi. And you’d think that was the end of my story. I learned my lesson about spending time on the things that matter, about enjoying the finer pleasures of life, about opening up my senses to the outside world, and decided to spend less time glued to a screen. Or, you know, I leaped for joy on seeing that little icon on my screen again and promptly fell into an internet wormhole for a few hours, real life be damned. You know. Either or. Bottom line: happy ending.
But things don’t always work out the way you want them to, do they? Am I happy I have my internet connection back? Yes, but… sigh. My wifi finally works, but now it’s slow. And as that loading circle goes round and round and round indefinitely and I sit motionless, watching an empty screen, I realise that that might just be a situation worse than not having wifi in the first place.
Slow wifi or no wifi: that, my friends, is the question.