…not, perhaps, the Buddhist kind of detachment, which I would also like to attain at some time, but detachment nonetheless. I’m speaking of detachment from the internet. For most of the last week – maybe a little longer – I’ve had no modem at home. A thunderstorm passing some miles to the south reached out its little electrical finger and knocked out my connections, and fried my modem, without giving any notice at all.
Since then I’ve been dependent for my recommended daily amount of internet connection on a quick stop at the Thessalon Library every morning on the way to work. I can read my email, respond to some of it and get my daily quizzes done on line before I have to disconnect.
Am I jonesing for the ‘net? Maybe just a bit, a little bit. Still, I’m finding more time to read (a biography of Rudyard Kipling, Malcolm Gladwell’s second edition of “blink”, The Secret History of the Mongol Queens). I have more time to think of writing humour, and humour takes a lot of thought. I have more time with the pooch and with David, and to snuggle with Spook, my cat, who comes in for love and leaves again. (He reminds me of Garrison Keillor’s “In and Out Song” where the cat says he’s back, “but not for long, so honey come and kiss me – I think I hear that lonesome whistle blow!”)
I think of it as practice. I’m not talking about the Mayan calendar thing. Apparently the Mayans only ran out of rock when they made their calendar that ended on December 21, 2012. A new one has been found detailing life after 2012. Hope you didn’t tear up your Christmas card lists, because you’re still on the hook. No, I’m thinking of sunspots and solar storms. In 1859 there was a major solar storm that wrought what havoc it could on the pre-internet world. It knocked out telegraph communications, for one – although the wireless operators found that if they took the batteries out of their sets they could still send and receive on the electricity in the atmosphere. Yikes!
We haven’t seen anything that bad since, but some scientists predict another in 2013. That’s going to play merry hob with our world, since we’re so dependent on electronics. Business, finance, transportation, communication – estimates are that it could take a decade to get back to something like normal.
When I read that, I was very glad that I have books and a spinning wheel and all that kind of low-tech stuff. I have a wood stove, too, and a well with a hand pump we can install. I will at least have tea and a book, right?
But I admit to some panic about the whole thing. I’ve become used to my wired-in connected world and life. I like writing on my computer, and talking to people on it. (I can hear my ex-husband laughing from here!) This last week has taught me that I can live, happily even, without the computer and the wired-in world.
It may not happen – I may not need to use the lesson I got this week. I’m still glad I had it.