Two Weeks Without Wifi

Take my love, take my land. Take me where I cannot stand. I don’t care, I’m still free. You can’t take my wifi from me…

Let me set the scene. It’s a warm summer evening, uncomfortably warm in fact. Aeroplanes thunder overhead as frequent reminders of my proximity to Heathrow. It’s a welcoming place where I feel comfortable, but it holds none of the comforts of home. Not my bed, with my beloved memory foam pillow and that cloud-like duvet. Not the 20 different cheeses that you’ll always find in a Kennedy fridge or my excessive supply of Tunnocks teacakes. My mother’s face, mine in 29 years, is noticeably absent from the picture and the grating strum of my father’s guitar is silent. I feel unconnected. There’s no Internet. What seemed so ubiquitous is now quite achingly out of my reach…

It’s strange to have two weeks offline. I felt off the map. It would never be something I would consider doing by choice. I’m part of that generation, the one they call broken. We’re iPhones and Facebook, can’t hold a real conversation anymore without accidentally letting a “lol” slip out. We came right after the ASBOs one, I think. We’ll be marrieds, with our livetweets and our lazy Sundays. Every room lit up by a screen: computers, phones and those things in between that they call tablets. We have our online footprints. But doesn’t that mean we mattered? We came and we mattered. We made some kind of an impact, even if it was an X Factor live commentary.

I’m an insignificant one in seven billion, average at almost everything and what I’m not average at, I’m just bad at: plumbing, poetry (a sore spot), cooking, running. I fancy myself a writer. But I don’t know how to be a writer without the Internet. Not properly. It is so much a part of the process. It can prompt an idea, it’s my primary source of research, but most importantly, it is my readership.

The two primary functions that I use the Internet for are creativity and communication. While I did feel cut off from people, particularly the friends I have across the Atlantic, it was the creative aspect that left me most frustrated. Every day at home, I’m creating something. Whether I’m writing on this blog or another, attempting to be witty in 140 characters, video editing, working in Photoshop or writing creatively (both original works and fan fiction), I get to create and publish content constantly. It’s encouraged more practice of all those skills than I could ever have had otherwise.

The problem, I guess, is that I’m now pretty good at a bunch of things that have very limited profitability. Whoops.

I’ve not had any moments in particular of being frustrated over the lack of wifi; it just simmers. While I’ve been in London, I have been busy – both socially and professionally. I met up with a bunch of friends: Louise, Hannah, Julia, Sally. But I met them all through social media. Even when I’m offline now, my life is so affected by the Internet. I think there are two readings of this. The first being, GO OUTSIDE and the second, an acceptance of the way things are. It’s alright. Now I get to be friends with the people I get on with best in all of the Internet, which is pretty close to global. These are my people, you know? It’s brilliant, and such a privilege.

I’ve had a really nice two weeks. Work experience was brilliant. Being in the city was brilliant. Taking the time out to miss home and be missed is always good, and necessary. But when people moan of the downsides of the technological revolution, I feel like they’ve missed the point. It’s good to be connected. I can be with everyone in the world while enjoying the solitude I need.

Two weeks out. It’s good to be back. Hello again, world.