Houston, we have a problem.

31 August 2010
Read more from Megan over at Thoughts of an Oxymoron and be sure to come check out her column here next Tuesday!

ALERT, ALERT! The wi-fi is down. Repeat... The wi-fi is down!

Cue me racing around the house looking for a hot spot I can steal some vibes from my neighbors, calling Centurylink Tech. support, my brother, my husband, the police, the FBI and then, God help me, going to Wal Mart for a new router. I packed up the toddler and preschooler and dashed out the door before lunch so I could get back here and share my anxieties with you all. Generous wasn't it. Being completely honest, I am addicted to my computer. I love it! It keeps me from feeling like a hermit, or a recluse, or from going crazy from being home all the time. I use it for everything! There was a panic attack on the horizon when I thought I wouldn't be able to connect to get into chat or on Twitter today if needed.  This is what its come to folks, I am completely hopeless, and sadly, I like it.

I like knowing that I have @ShakeItMJ in my kitchen to chat with me while I'm cleaning up, or during nap time. I like to check the temperature and radar, to stalk Facebook, to Tweet my curly brown head off, and even to pay my bills. (OK, I don't really like to pay my bills, but I'd rather do it online than with paper because I'm a greenie like that.) I have to have it to check my balance in the bank, and God help me if I actually tried to balance my checkbook without a program. I would be eternally overdrawn! I use it to check on my kid's homework and grades, to send pictures to my brother in California, and to shop for amazing sales through Ebates . You catch my drift, its essential and I'm willing to bet that at least some of you understand this new dependency. 

This started me thinking in the shower. (It was that lightening fast shower where I was frantic to get my new router, which did nothing to solve the problem and will now be promptly returned.) What was it like back when this wasn't what we had? You remember those days when we wrote actual checks, and turned on the news, and talked to people who lived close to us. We had to go to the store and read books that were actually made of paper. FYI - I like my paper books. Its an anti-green thing, I know; I warned you there would be conflicts in my stories. Deal with it.

I suppose some people would call those simpler times. You know, the old people who don't know how to do the computer thing, and for them, it is simpler. Not for me. At least, I don't think so. I love having things right there at my fingertips, to be able to show my kids what a naked mole rat looks like with the click of a mouse. (Hahaha - that was a funny joke to me.)

Ugly little suckers aren't they. So now when the sing the Naked Mole Rap they know what they're singing about. I love to check my email and see who has been thinking about me, and to find hilarious videos on YouTube. I love that I have met a slew of great friends online that I'm sure would be my friends anyway if we lived closer than 500 miles apart. Its a learning experience and a socializing experience for me. That doesn't mean that I value my friends that live down the road from me any less. I am a firm believer that you can have friends online and friends "in real life" but aren't they both real life? Isn't it just a proximity issue?

I've heard vicious rumors that the Internet eats your brain and makes you stupider. (I know, its more stupid, I was being a smart ass.) It might, or it might be the exact opposite. It might make my attention span shorter and that is probably a really bad thing, or, it might make me be able to multi-task better. I don't know and I don't have a way to prove that myself. That being said, I also have no intentions of reading a book on it because sometimes I just don't want to know. 

So, this all comes down to good news, bad news. The good news is that although my Wi-Fi card seems to have died, I can attach to my Ethernet line and surf until my little pea brain catches fire. I hate my desk chair so I can play on my balance ball and develop a rock hard core while I Internet myself to death.  I can pay bills, tweet, blog, upload pictures, chat and check the news and weather. I can spend countless hours avoiding housework and chaos while talking to Maryann. I can check up on my kids at school, talk to my brother and order new shoes!

The bad news is that I have to either stay at this very uncomfortable desk attached to a wall or get my wireless card fixed. I'm, again, locked to my computer which I enjoy but is probably making me fat, lazy and full of attention problems. I will still have a semi-scummy house but I can blame that on the 4 kids, the dog and the asphalt working husband. Oh, and lets not forget the bees. I worry about the bees with all these wi-fi signals and cell phone signals. I like honey and flowers, and I'm not a fan of global warming and catastrophes, and I heard somewhere that maybe it was all our fault from all the buzzing signals we put out there. THAT is probably my biggest concern, even more than the fat, lazy attention problem and that should say a lot.

So, what if the wi-fi signals of the world went down for a week? What would you do? How would you react? What would you miss the most and what would you NOT miss?

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