Friday, November 07, 2008

Well, That's Embarrassing

I must remember not to overestimate my significance.

Wednesday night we dropped off the face of the Earth when our phone service and computer modems went *blip* and stopped working. I spent days hours many long, tedious minutes on the cellular phone trying to get to the root of the problem, and fortunately I discovered that the fault did not lie with me, this time. The damage was big and wide spread and they could not be sure when we would have service again.

In my mind I am detached... I have no dependence on these modern conveniences, these virtual realities. I can quit anytime.

No Internet.
No dial tone.
No incoming calls.
No calls out.
No email.
No blog posts.
Utterly cutoff from the real world... or...

Yeah. OKay. I see this is somewhat overstated. I was cranky and frustrated and certain that I was going to blow deals, miss deadlines, lose my bearings and fall completely out of step with friends, acquaintances, and total strangers. I was edgy, a bit disoriented. As the hours without my beloved Internet and email passed, I began to imagine my importance in a grander light... I began to consider how much I matter, how necessary I am to the flow and function of the universe. I just knew people were trying to reach me. They needed my ideas and suggestions, my wise counsel and sage advice. I felt the weight of my duty to keep Chickenblog updated, to finally answer lots and lots of emails and to finish photography jobs. I fumed and clenched my fist in angry scorn of the phone company and their silly cables. Heads would roll!

In my mind I am detached... I have no dependence on these modern conveniences, these virtual realities. I can quit anytime.

Now for the truly shocking part: Without my tools and resources, without any means of communicating or being engaged with the real world, I cleaned house and made actual progress, including folding laundry and putting it away. I cooked dinner and washed the dishes. I built a fire in the fireplace, crocheted a scarf, cleared the car, and flossed. I watched a funny movie. I churned butter, cleared the gutters, alphabetized our wines and replaced all the dead light bulbs... it's true... all of it... except the light bulbs part. Seriously, I did get stuff done and found inner peace, harmony and wisdom.

Then, early this morning as I was reclaiming my desk from debris important stuff, I accidentally bumped the mouse and lo and behold our server is back. It happened just as the sun rose above the horizon and a heavenly shaft of light illuminated the room and my heart skipped a beat. I held my breath as emails came streaming in. I counted them, the evidence of my significance and worth in the world, the proof of my existence.

23. Only 23 emails.
7 junk.
10 ads that I actually subscribe to.
3 housing listings, which are sure to lead to disappointment.
1 my beautiful mommy, because, thank God, at least I can count on my mommy.
2 from my cousin, and I better get back to her asap, because I am so happy that after 40 hours of being cutoff from all, that someone actually was trying to reach me.

After 1, 246 posts, after blogging since May 2002, I still cannot profess to know why I do it. Why do I hang out my laundry, dirty and otherwise? Why do I post the good, the sad, the ugly, the trivial, the happy and dear?

Every now and then I hope my Internet disappears, so that I can be reminded that I do not need it. I love it and like it and enjoy it. I depend on it and rely on it, but I do not need it... not everyday, not all day. For 2 days I thought I was missing something important, but it's when the service is working that I am more likely to miss something important, when I am distracted by the Whole Wide World and failing to notice my real world. This is not a total rebuke of computers and blogs and Internet... it's too good and useful to dismiss. My mistake is overestimating my place in it and paying it too much heed.

I'm glad I can talk to my cousin, that we can make a connection and make plans to get together. I'm glad mom and I are exchanging emails, discussing the details of Thanksgiving. And, with some embarrassment, I am glad I was reminded that it's not a big deal if I am out of the loop with Whole Wide World Web.


Tracy said...

Hi, Natalie! Had to laugh at this good post...I feel much as you do--the dependence, but not need of the internet, the's a tug and pull, kind of thing sometimes. Being on and a part of it is great, being away is too. There is a nice balance--when it's good both ways. When we take it, give to it, and then can leave it a little while...or it leaves us--LOL! We do this because we love it, I think--pure and simple. The sharing and the caring and the friendships made along the way are a great thing. But glad you won't out of the loop for long...I'm dependent on my weekly dose of Chicken Blog and family ;o) Happy weekend to you all ((HUGS)) Oh, loved your election post. I was so thrilled Obama won! I cried...first time I cried over an election. It was a tremendous moment in time. I can't wait to see what he'll do for us!

nikkipolani said...

I love your candor, Natalie. Here at work, if the internet/server is down, I feel like I might as well go home. Oh, you mean I could work on that stack of filing? And clean my desk? Glad you found inner peace, harmony, and wisdom :-)

judy in ky said...

Balance is the key, Natalie, as I know you know. It's good once in a while to take a break from the computer and accomplish other things. But we sure are glad you came back. You would be missed terribly if we couldn't find you here.

d.a. said...

Laughing in recognition and empathy!

Mama Spark said...

But of course you would be really missed if you were away too long you know? Glad you are back.

jess said...

Ha! This was really funny to me, because this happened to me once. Even when my husband is home and spends too much time on the computer, I get so much more done. I really do love my internet. Glad you're back!

Tiglizzyclone said...

I understand your feelings. I experience withdrawals every time we go camping. I always think I am missing something. The Internet is habit forming.

Katie said...

Well we still love you! Funny post, but it definitely makes you think. Simpler is better.

Laura Jane said...

Yep, I hear ya!

I too spend (pointless?) hours of my day connecting to people I have never met, reading their blogs etc.

But when I travel and am away from it, does it really matter? I CAN do other stuff because I'm much free-er.

It is a bit of an addiction...

Jennifer said...

OK, something is seriously wrong here. We intentionally shut down all internet/electronic entertainment here at our house for a WEEK every April, and I don't accomplish one iota (not an iota) of what YOU got done in a day. I still haven't unpacked from our vacation yet (don't tell) -- oh, and that is so entirely the tip of the messy iceberg. I. don't. get. it. But I'm glad you're here and back and connected.

Em said...

Natalie - I feel the same way - I feel that I can be disconnected... and yet freak out if I can't check email or facebook or whatever for more than a day... weird... but true. I need to cut it off sometimes and get things done... real things not virtual ones!

andrea said...

I so so so hear your angst and delight to hear that I am not alone in my little www dependant world!!

great fun reading backwards...