A day in the life of... a twenty-something deprived of the internet
A week has gone by since term officially ended. I’ve moved into a new house (which I’m beginning to think might have mice. But that’s another story) and I’ve survived four whole days without the internet.
For any 21st century student, that is a monumental task. If you disagree, you’re probably in the minority. I remember once moaning to family members that JSTOR was down SO HOW COULD I WRITE MY ESSAY?! And they bewilderedly suggested that I actually read a hard copy of a journal. Ew. Embarrassingly for an English student, I have no idea what a Modern Language Association (for example) journal would even look like, let alone where I would find one.
In fact, the closest I’ve got to them in real life is the time I managed to convince my friends and housemates to crash the #mla2012 twitter tag they set up for their annual convention. JSTOR was far more interesting with the occasional ‘I BROUGHT THE BEERS #mla2012’ tweet popping up at the side of the page.
Anyway, without the internet, I’ve had to resort to more proactive methods of entertaining myself. At first it was tricky. On Day One, I did an aimless lap of the house in an attempt to seek out potential hide-and-seek cubby holes that other people might miss. So far no games have been proposed, but once they are I am waaay ahead of the pack.
I’ve also developed a mildly unhealthy obsession with the Australian border control programme Nothing to Declare. Temporarily flirted with the idea of a career in smuggling contraband (hidden lining in your suitcase? PLEASE, that is so Famous Five), then recovered my senses and went fruit picking.
Fruit picking really is a fun day out. You essentially just sit in a field eating strawberries, then pack some up to continue eating at home. And helping yourself to a few as you pick feels a little naughty, so that filled the Nothing to Declare shaped hole in my day.
There’s also something refreshing about spending time with people without any outside communication. I’m probably as guilty as any of sitting playing Diamond Dash on Facebook whilst everyone else is chatting, but it is really nice to just give one thing your full attention every now and then. It made me realise how incapable I am of only doing one thing at a time. I go out for meals, and I have my blackberry out in between courses; I miss the best bits of films because I’m tweeting – I really do need to sort my life out. This week also coincided with me breaking my phone, so I really was cut off from the world. It was like being in The Stone Age. Except with Sky Anytime.
As it was just me and my boyfriend in the house at the time, we got to spend some proper quality time together. ‘Proper’ as in ‘genuine’, not the chavvy intensifier; i.e. ‘our time together was proper sick yo’. That probably didn’t need to be clarified. Anyway, as cheesy as it sounds, it’s true. There’s no retreating to separate rooms, simply because there’s nothing to do in there. Instead you find yourself gravitating towards an actual human and being sociable by actual necessity. I’m making it sound like a painful obligation, but it’s actually brilliant.
Anyway, by the end of the four days I was only losing Scrabble by a very small margin. I think we can call that serious progress. I’m also paying significantly less attention to my Blackberry. I’ve gone for 48 hour periods without even turning it on. O2 was down the other day and I literally didn’t even notice. I’m a changed woman.
As much as I do rely on the internet and, realistically, that will probably never change, I really am learning to value social excursions that don’t involve alcohol and the fabulous people in my life that can never be replaced by videos of cats jumping into boxes. Probably.