Computer

As someone who still remembers life with chunky desktop computers and dialup, I love the sleek monitors and portable tablets of today. 

I’m the first to extol modern technology’s virtues when that whole “technology bad, Thomas Edison was a witch” argument crops up again every few weeks like clockwork. But even so, I have to admit, there’s no quicker way to see how much technology, especially the internet, controls my life than when it’s taken away for even a few seconds.

Just yesterday, as I write this, I was in the middle of a word document, typing away, in the zone. 

I blinked and opened my eyes, but the blink didn’t end. I blinked a few times again, but nope, everything was still dark.

About five seconds later, my brain rebooted: it was a blackout. 

And cue a cacophony of cusses from everyone downstairs, all on the same beat, like magic. 

In an instant, wholly unpredictable, everyone’s work for the past few minutes had been wiped clean away. But unlike a white board or chalk board, there’s no foggy imprint left behind. No way to recover it. It’s just gone.

My coworker, glaring at a black, plastic rectangle, threatened that his computer better have made some sort of autosave or recovery document for the 600-word-and-counting story he had been working on. (Spoiler: it didn’t.)

Sure, there are ways to circumvent the issue, if you want to act like an actual adult who can actually solve problems. You can just save more often. Or find some program that does autosave. But that’s not the point.

The point is, there’s no better way to summon your family, your roommates, or any other human being in the same building with you than to cut out the Wi-Fi for a moment. (And if you do that on purpose, I don’t like you.)

I can’t tell you how many times my internet went down, and I was thrust into the dark ages, with nothing better to do than to lay on the floor wondering if little Timmy’s caught the plague or how I should prepare for the next witch hunt. 

And if there are other people living with me, they might emerge, like Nosferatu, silently from a shadowed alcove, gaze fixed solidly on the router as they glide toward it. Or, they explode out of their rooms, muttering heatedly under their breaths when they stomp over to shake the router. 

But after restarting it to no avail — again, again and again — we know there’s nothing we can do on our end. We can only wait. Because everyone knows you can’t just go do something else while you wait for the Wi-Fi to come back. No, you have to hold a wake. 

It’s like being stuck in those early morning hours that shouldn’t exist — 3 or 4 a.m. — where everything doesn’t feel quite real. It’s too quiet. The world outside is still loading, still buffering.  And you are all too aware of how slowly time can pass. You could swear 10 minutes have come and gone, but really, it’s barely been one.

But like the daybreak, a triumphant cry from down the hall heralds the inevitable return of the Wi-Fi. The small congregation trickles back into their rooms, and I’ve forgotten all my boredom and frustration. The cloud has passed.

I love modern technology. But, wow, there is no way better way to ruin my day than with modern technology.

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