Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Internet Death Panic

When the internet dies, you go into a blind panic. You start shouting at people, hoping it is something they’ve done and so can also fix. You urge them to fix it, and quickly. You are waiting for an important email. Actually, you’re not at all. You were just about to take your turn in Scrabulous, and you were also sending out invites to something, and you’d even taken the time to go down your friend list and only check the boxes of people who you know might be interested AND available, rather than spamming everyone. You understand that someone living in Minneapolis will not be able to just hop on a plane, no matter how good a friend they are. This goes for London, too. Spam annoys you. You cannot understand why some people don’t have the courtesy to think about what they’re really putting out there. You are mindful of this, and always endeavor to be considerate. So, you were in the middle of all this when the page was not found. Internet death. You unplug the modem. You wait, then you plug it back in. After thirty seconds you click on the Firefox logo. Nothing. Again. Nothing. Unplug the modem again, for a bit longer. Still nothing. The internet is dead. There is nothing anyone can do. It is not just your network, it is the provider. Your friend across town has just phoned to confirm this. What to do now? The invites haven’t gone out. It’s not a problem. You think about them, hovering somewhere in cyberspace, all those zeros and ones lost forever. You probably won’t bother sending them out again. If people want to go, they will go. And then somewhere just at the end of the panic, there is a new feeling. It is freedom. You feel like you’ve been given an evening to do things with. You spend the next few hours writing, and then you watch a film. The film is beautiful, and it inspires you to write well into the early hours of the following day. There are birds singing when you finally decide it is time to get some sleep. You dream of connections lost and found, and of people all across the world spilling thoughts and ideas that can be seen and referenced and imprinted in memory, kept safe in the hearts of strangers and friends.

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