As I lay dozing in bed this morning, DH came in to say his goodbyes and muttered something I didn’t quite catch. Half an hour later, I was in the shower when I realised that what he had been trying to tell me. He hadn’t been bidding me a fond farewell and saying he hoped I’d have a good day; he had been trying to warn me that the internet was Down.
I got dressed quickly and hurried downstairs, hoping that the problems would have resolved itself , but No. This was the screen that presented itself to me.
My heart sunk. It was going to be a very long day.
We rely on the internet for a lot of things in this house. The weather forecast ( how many layers will we need to wear), entertainment ( TV/ films and games), information, homework and friendship. Most of my ‘Internet friends’ have become real life friends over the years, and call me sad but often the majority of the adult conversation I have during the day while DH is at work happens online.
And of course, during the school holidays, the Internet is crucial in enabling me to cling on to what remains of my sanity, while at the constant beck and call of my demanding offspring.
But today, I had to do without it.
I have friends who have survived much longer Internet absences. Most of them come back online full of enthusiasm for Real Life and spouting tales of increased productivity in all areas of their lives.
But I am not one of those people. Today I *could* have given the kitchen a spring clean, done some gardening or sorted through the kids’ clothes.
But I didn’t. Instead I sulked.
I stared at my desktop longingly and pressed refresh a lot.
I walked the dogs and kids around the local Aquadrome and we sat outside in the double digit temperatures and not-rain and had lunch. I checked on my email, then FB, on my phone and started a social media cascade in the cafe we were in by casually remarking on the news headlines that announced Margaret Thatcher’s death to the lady sitting next to me. She made a very strange noise and told a friend of hers a few tables over. Her friend told another couple of women sitting nearby, then suddenly everyone had their phones in their hands and every kid in the place was going ‘Who is Margaret Thatcher?’
Then we came home and I supervised homework and music practice while I watched the WiFi icon on my computer like a hawk. It remained non functional. I rang my husband and tried to have the sort of conversation I have with my online friends on a daily basis, but it wasn’t the same. He was busy at work and I just wanted to chat to someone about how the kids had wrecked their new coats. DH fobbed me off by telling me that the internet engineers were ‘on the scene’ and the problem should be fixed in 25 minutes time. I hung up, time passed and of course it wasn’t.
Finally I gave up, went upstairs and read a book while the kids played on the Wii and shouted at each other. I could have taken the time to relax but I couldn’t. I felt jittery when I thought about what I must be missing online.
When I came downstairs it was dinner time for the kids, but they would have to wait. For a miracle had occurred and the internet was Back! I had news, I had weather and I had Facebook. I had been missed.
Dinner was late but the kids didn’t notice. They were too busy digging up the garden and getting absolutely filthy.
Everyone was happy again.