When I went to university, I had dial-up Internet. If you’re under 30, that probably sounded a lot like: blah blah university blah blah word word. Basically, before broadband technology, many moons before smart phones, we had to use our home telephones to connect to the Internet. Like, ew.
I’d click the button with my mouse, wait for the telephone connection to establish, make a sandwich, feed my brontosaurus, read the Complete Works of Shakespeare, and listen to the zany screech of my giant computer as it configured and synchronized to prepare for data transfer. This could take up to 20 seconds. Sometimes the connection failed and I’d have to try all over again. Like, cringe.
But the delay was bearable because hey – it was 1996. Cell phones looked like bricks. Apple was just a fruit. Mark Zuckerberg was eating cheese puffs in his parents’ basement. Tweeting was for birds. Digital cameras cost a kidney and your firstborn. And parents lined up for days to buy the decade’s most innovative gadget – Tickle Me Elmo. This dinosaur dial-up system was cutting freakin’ edge.
But if I had to go back to it now, I’d freak. Today, the Internet is immediate. Day or night, I tap my laptop to wake it up from sleep mode, or slide my finger across my mini Internet machine (iPhone) to reveal the app screen, and BAM I can find anyone and anything I need in seconds. The world is at my fingertips, 24-seven. And it has improved way more than my fingertips. It has made me a better* person all around. And not just because I can now Google “how to be a better person.”
It has made me smarter. Every known fact is a click away. The moment a news story breaks, I’m on it like a bonnet. What kind of numbskull goes skipping through the fields with the woodland creatures when there’s a boatload of information to be consumed online? Sorry chipmunks, I’m busy learning over here. I panic when my phone goes dead because every second offline is precious mind-enriching time. Thanks to Youtube, I can watch a tutorial on how to change a diaper, change a tire, or change my underwear without taking my pants off. Because of Facebook, I know the very moment my aunt Ethel is making a tunafish casserole. And with WebMD, I am now a medical doctor in my spare time. Conversely, I no longer need to know how to spell (LOL!), which leaves valuable brain space for reading about serial killers on Wikipedia, finding my ex’s house on Google Earth, and discovering what happens to stuff when you microwave it.
I am saving the planet. No more newspapers – yuck. No more greeting cards – yay, e-cards. No more handwritten letters – do I look like Lucy Maude Montgomery? I pay my bills online. I chat with friends online. I write in Microsoft Word, not a notebook. Thanks, Internet. You’re welcome, trees.
I enjoy more me time. No waiting in line at banks – three cheers for online banking. No more dialing numbers to get a pizza – I order online in a snap. No walking around the mall – online shopping is the bomb dot com. And no high school reunions required – let’s just start a Facebook group where we don’t have to do sit-ups for six months prior, okay? Okay, good. And, you know what all this saved time adds up to? More time for cat videos. Sweet action.
I am a friend to the world. Social media connects me with people, far and wide. Sure, some of them are potential stalkers who want to cut me up into little pieces, but I never leave the house so it’s all good. It also connects me with old acquaintances. You know, people whose body parts I may have touched with my body parts. I can rekindle old romances in case my current one falls through. Girl guides motto: be prepared.
I am an emotional rock. I no longer bottle up my feelings. Instead, I tweet on a whim, post Facebook rants, and send accidental texts to the wrong person. It’s so liberating to just put it all out there.
I am an entrepreneur. What’s the point in having a scrapbook of new, innovative chicken nugget shapes tucked away in a drawer where millions of people can’t enjoy it? Thanks to the Internet, I can share my bird-brained ideas with the world, inspire my kids with my entrepreneurial spirit, and earn some cash to pay for their therapy.
I’m keeping the romance alive. My husband and I text each other from opposite sides of the couch. He says sexy things like, “How’s your blog post coming along?” I say sexy things back like, “What level are you on?” He’s a Candy Crush champion. An architect of the gummy bear gods. I always dreamed of marrying someone who can stack multi-coloured, graphic candies into straight lines.
I’m continually humbled. Most bloggers don’t like trolls. Neither do I – I love them. Hidden deep inside their illogical rage are some very humbling insights and opinions. I’m also humbled when some lucky ducks post pictures of themselves in front of the Eiffel Tower, knowing I will never have the cash to get there. No matter how big in the britches I get, thank goodness I can always count on the Internet machine to knock me down a peg.
I’m a better daughter. I connect with my mom more often since she killed dad with her cooking and signed up for Facebook and bought an iPad. I mean, sure she writes directly on my wall thinking it’s a private message, asking me about my rash. And she hasn’t found the spacebar yet so everything she writes looksalotlikethis. And she messages every other night to ask me how to get rid of the little blinking vertical line on her screen. Mom, for the hundredth time, it’s the cursor. The Internet has brought us together like no cup of tea or organ transplant ever could.
It has made me more efficient. With mobile Internet, I multitask like a boss. I cross the street while reading the headlines on Twitter. I eat while trolling recipes to find ideas for what to eat next. I blog while bathing. I spend time with my kids while scrolling through pics of other people’s kids. When most people use the bathroom, they just stare at the pattern on the shower curtain. Not this juggler of all the things. Just this morning, phone in hand, I replied to 17 emails, learned how to fold that pesky sheet with the elastic at the corners, watched a squirrel carve a pumpkin, and signed an online petition to bring back purple ketchup. All while bleaching my moustache. Bam.
Thanks, Internet. You’ve made me a better* person.
* I also signed an online petition to create a sarcasm font.