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Washington Voices

Feeling lost without Internet

Sat., April 3, 2010

My name is Deborah and I’m dependent on e-mail and the Internet.

There, I’ve confessed. Now please pass the coffee.

Our router is R.I.P., so we can’t go online for a few days and I feel radically cut off. Every five minutes I begin to move toward the computer – to e-mail a friend, order a prescription, look up the floor map of the Veterans Memorial Arena Star Theater, find a recipe, check a fact – and remember that the beloved brain in my office has taken a powder.

And it did so after I posted a “Lost” episode write-up at my favorite literary blog, just before I could read the first discussion comment. How cruel is that?

I rely on the information superhighway for more than I realize. A sudden blowout leaves me stranded and disconcerted. I sense the first flutters of anxiety.

Embarassingly desperate, I reserve a computer at the library for the next day. But when I arrive, due to a packed restroom there, I miss my five-minute window and lose my reservation. Feeling my mental veins begin to collapse, I go pathetic on the kind librarian, who finds me another computer, which is pretty amazing given the high demand.

When I log on and see my e-mail, I practically need a surge protector for the coursing joy within. Yes! Oh, I’ve got it bad; not even 24 hours and I’m mainlining straight through the eyes.

My Preshussssss!

However I’m not used to the noise of library bustle, with teens chatting and slurping drinks two feet away. The keyboard feels different, and I don’t have my rolling Marble Mouse set for the left hand. Unfamiliar with doing e-mail on the Internet, rather than with Microsoft Outlook, I have trouble finding the right places to click. Keyboarding without working around our cat who wants to be on my lap seems, well, strange. And dang, these library chairs are hard.

How we suffer in America.

But I endure these petty inconveniences for the fix of checking my e-mail, checking blogs, and scavenging information I can’t live without.

Sometimes I wonder if I’ve become some enslaved Pod Person, part of an earthly collective consciousness remote control operated by a Giant Alien Computer Mind which could be wiped out by… a virus! As this hasn’t yet happened, I think I’m still me. Hmm…where do I stop and I begin? How very Zen.

Wait a minute. I love my iPod, so … I am a Pod Person!

The new reality is that no one is untouched by the Internet, which affects every aspect of our lives. We conduct business, get breaking news, share our lives, network, and enjoy music, gaming and other entertainment online.

Over the last decade my world has expanded beyond belief. I instantly connect with others anywhere in the world, fulfill intellectual interests with others of like mind, buy books, download music, and use cornball emoticons to express my every cyber-feeling [insert wink face]. I can simultaneously research, correspond, blog, and key in this story. And thanks to e-mail responses on my “Lost” column, I’ve met up with local “Lost” fans.

So, yeah, I go bonkers over losing our Internet services and suffer fierce withdrawal. Don’t you? So I’m very grateful that the library is keeping me connected.

Wow, great news – my husband Richard has installed our new router and we’re good to go. Yahoo! The household brain is back.

Giant Alien Computer Mind – who cares?

I’m one happy Pod Person.

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