We’ve finally got internet again after making the mistake of signing up for the NBN two and a half weeks ago. Paul has lost too many hours of his life to being on hold and arguing with Optus call centre staff. We had the NBN techies here three time. In the end, after the two companies blamed the other several time, it was a simple configuration problem spotted by a second-tier Optus techie that fixed it.
We weren’t completely internetless, of course, because we could access it on our mobiles. However, after we used half a month’s data in a day (Facebook appeared to be the main culprit) we turned off data for everything but email and Messenger.
It was an interesting lesson in how much we rely on it, and how much we don’t. I had to do my BAS (quarterly tax) on paper, which meant taking photographs of all the documents I didn’t have as files in case they went AWOL and sending Paul out to deliver them to my accountant. I had to photograph the pages of a Word Document on my computer screen and email them to my editor.
My biggest worry, as the weeks began to multiply, was that something would happen to my Dad, and Mum – who has dementia and never adapted to mobile phones – wouldn’t be able to reach me.
But of the ‘unimportant’ stuff, I was intrigued to note what I missed and didn’t miss. I missed this blog more than I expected. I was most frustrated about not being able to look up information, especially, I’m ashamed to admit, searches relating to shopping. Though I don’t buy a lot online, I certainly do a lot of research there.
What I didn’t miss was social media. And yet, I missed connection to my friends. The way they work is rife with irritations you put up with so you can know what your friends are doing at any moment and can arrange a get-together easily.
The pleasure of not being a slave to the Facebook feed led me to consider leaving it, as a friend of mind has temporarily, and cutting back on other distractions. I do something like this every holiday, culling what I follow so I can keep up, then when I get home I slowly accumulate again.
The phone is a big part of the problem. It’s with me, everywhere and every hour, at every moment of weakness. I finish doing something I think “what now?” and immediately pick up the phone to check social media, play another round of Words With Friends and eventually check my to-do list. It’s the first thing I do in the morning and the last thing at night.
I spend far less time just thinking, processing what I’ve absorbed, letting ideas come and develop, getting a sense of priorities. I could happily lie in bed letting my mind drift of a morning, content to look up the weather when I got to my computer or catch up with world events via the evening news.
I was a much less anxious person before I had an iPhone. Though I can’t blame it all on this device, limiting my use of it is something I can control. Unlike world politics, everyday unfairness and health problems.