Off Line

This is what happened last year, last week, next week…

SERVER NOT FOUND, words guaranteed to strike dread in the hearts of anyone expecting to go on line in the next few seconds. When I saw those words I tried every device in the house, only to get the same answer. I did not need to go on the internet, it was a catching up with housework day. At least we hadn’t had a power cut; electricity not WiFi was all that was needed to work the washing machine, vacuum cleaner and most importantly the radio, the only companion that makes chores bearable.

So why was I experiencing medium levels of stress, anxiety and restlessness?
First cause was the question Why? Obviously the Internet works by magic, but what had broken the spell and would the magic ever return?
Second worry; I was due to Facetime family in Australia early the next morning.
Third problem; I needed ( wanted ) to post tomorrow’s blog.
Finally came the hollow panic: what was I missing while off line? Would I be the last relative to put a sad emoticon on Facebook if a baby wasn’t well or if someone was in casualty? Were there any important e-mails? Would WordPressdom manage without me, were there any comments to comment on?

There was a time when I wasn’t on Facebook or WordPress; further back I didn’t have an e-mail address. There is a telephone in the house attached to a land line, which at some stage beams up to a satellite. I could just phone Australia. Anybody could phone me if there was an emergency. I could still get on with writing on paper … or Microsoft Word… if I ever finished the housework. So why was I still anxious?
When the long suffering Cyberspouse came home he dismissed the gravity of the situation, commenting calmly that Virgin was probably ‘down’. However, he decided he would unplug the router and plug it in again. Instantly messages and Whatsapps pinged into our mobile phones. Facebook lit up the large ( old television ) screen of my desk top computer. I was delighted, proof indeed that the internet works by magic. The way to restore it is by a magic spell that I cannot perform; the internet has to be switched off and on by someone who is not a technophobe and who is totally uninterested in social media.
I was late cooking dinner that evening ( again ) because I had to check all my multi media connections. And what had I missed?

Sunset pictures from Facebook photographer friends.
A petition to save a cow swimming in the harbour after escaping from a live export ship in Fremantle Port, Western Australia.
Three million bloggers had commented on thousands of other bloggers’ blogs.
I am not (am I not? ) a Facebook Fanatic or WordPress Prisoner… After several years of being blissfully without a mobile phone I am now on my second third hand Smart phone and used to ( dependent on )the security of knowing I can check Facebook while I am out to make sure I’m not missing anything. I can take photographs with my phone and post them so that Facebook Friends and Instagram Followers do not miss anything I’m doing out in real life. On the bus I can read blogs and post comments…

My Dark and Milk collection has two stories about what can go horribly wrong on Facebook. ‘You Have One Friend’ and ‘Friend Request’.
Look out for Friday Flash Fiction where you can read ‘You Have One Friend’.

23 thoughts on “Off Line

  1. Not sure whether to laugh or be scared as I recognise the dependency we have on being online! I often hear the DH telling clients to unplug, count to 20 and plug it back in or switch it off and switch it on again. It seems to work pretty often – so then he doesn’t send them a bill and we remain as poor as church mice.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I wrote last year about being deprived of both my landline and the internet, but in my case it was for 15 days while they sorted out the connection to my new abode. Now THAT is how to suffer! I used to work alongside the IT guys and that was always their first solution: it worked in a surprisingly high percentage of cases!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have had our Internet company out to the house so many times in the past few years. I’m beginning to get on a first-name basis with all of the technicians. Things will go smoothly for a bit, and then for some mysterious reason, it will go afoul. This is the fifth day in a row we’ve had intermittent service.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s bad, We know it’s a first world problem and it feels like the internet is free, but of course we all pay for it in whatever package of mysterious wiring is coming into our house and we expect it to work.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Well put Audrey, though I think it’s wiser to keep up with life on line – there are plenty of people my age and younger who ‘don’t do computers’ at all which is fine until one gets totally housebound!


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