Nineteen days after moving into our new house, we are still without connection to the Internet. Put like that, it doesn't sound like much of an issue, but let's just break it down, for a moment.
Bearing in mind that there are four people in our house, two adults (one of each gender) and two schoolgoing teenagers, this means (in no particular order) nineteen days without :
- private email accounts
- Facebook, MySpace and all that that implies (no Scrabulous... gasp!)
- ball by ball reports on the cricket going on down in New Zealand... or any other sport, for that matter
- working from home and, with a 21 mile drive each way and diesel at £1.13/litre (that's £4.97 or $9.95 per gallon, folks), believe me when I say I'd like to be able to do that at least twice a week!
- the freedom to check what the £:$ conversion rate is at the drop of a hat
- access to resources for homework
- instant messaging
- free international calls via Skype
- any progress on my dissertation (which is being delivered online)
- being able to search for a good recipe for bobotie for my dinner guests
- a single glimpse of new photos of my grandnephew
Some of the things on the list I can occasionally do from the office (such as my personal emails), but it doesn't do to abuse these things, or they will go the way of Facebook and be blocked. My husband (as a CIO) can do wahtever he pleases online, so he's alright, thanks awfully. But our sons don't have that luxury.
They are feeling thoroughly deprived. They are also worried about losing contact with their friends. This has been an interesting insight. All things being equal, they communicate with their friends far more often than I ever have with mine, but their relationships are less robust and apparently may be adversely affected by an absence of several weeks. I'm trust this isn't true of all their friendships. I genuinely hope that they each have at least one friend with whom they can pick up the threads after long absences.
In a week's time, I am going on holiday to South Africa, where I will meet up again with my best friend, who is possibly the biggest luddite and worst correspondent on the planet. I haven't seen her - and have hardly heard from her - since she threw me a surprise party for my 40th birthday (which was several years ago during my last visit to Cape Town!), but I am (fairly) confident that it will be as if we were never apart.
That's an unplugged relationship destined never to go online. Right now, I have cause to be very grateful for the unplugged things in my life! I'd go nuts without them.