Because our modem was broken, I spent a couple of days without the internet. It was both marvelous and frustrating at the same time.
It’s marvelous because the internet is one of the most addictive substances known to mankind. You feel terrible while going the detox. You’re listless. You wander around, wanting a fix. You hit refresh 10 times, just hoping that maybe it will magically work this time. But at the same time, you know this is a great thing for your body, or your soul. It’s such a cleansing feeling, as if your mind is being purified. You can sit down and DO THINGS! instead of wandering away every 5 seconds to check something.
Yet the internet has made us its slaves. It’s hard to do certain things without the internet. One’s notes and books form something like an extended brain. If we don’t remember something, we can look it up in our notes. Because of the convenience of the internet, a lot of things have migrated online. So many things are stored in my e-mail account. We live in the cloud, many of us. Without my extra internet appendages, I become a cripple.
Sometimes you can get by. I was working with photoshop and didn’t know how to do something. “I know,” I said to myself — evidently I talk to myself when the internet is down — “I will look it up on the Google.” Oh wait, I don’t have the Google. I rediscovered that programs have their own help functions. There were also things I wanted to do with CSS, but I couldn’t find. I had to reference old code and pull out *gasp* a book. It was like exercising muscles you forgot you had. There were these things I used to do before I used Google as a crutch to find everything.
There are things I simply can’t do, however. I could draw and scan my comics. I could transfer between computers with a USB stick instead of e-mailing it to myself. I could edit things. I could not upload the pictures to my site or update the database. I also wanted to get a rough draft done for a website I’m designing and send it off to the client. I could develop with HTML and CSS alright, but I couldn’t send off an e-mail. I also wanted to do stuff with PHP for another project, but I couldn’t test things without a database to interact with. That meant I had to be online.
One could liken it to a car mechanic without a wrench. I found it very difficult to do my job. In fact, it was sometimes frustrating just doing what I normally do everyday. A lot of the tasks I want to do require internet access.
Now that the internet is back, I’m very weary. The problem is the internet’s addictive nature. The internet is like heroin: It’s hard to do in moderation. If I could, I’d go cold turkey. I’d cut it out of my system completely. But I need it for so many things. (This is where the internet differs from heroin: Heroin is not that useful.) Once I start using it, how am I going to control myself?
My next experiment is to buy an egg timer and limit myself when I go online.
EDIT: And another thing… I love the convenience of the internet, but I think it may be worth it to sacrifice some of that convenience for independence from the internet. I may even acquire the upside of deeper understanding, rather than the shallow understanding one gets from a quick Google search.