Going offline

Sarah James

As I type this, my MacBook is not connected to the Internet. As I type this, I am not distracted by YouTube videos of Elvis Costello and I am not tempted to check my Facebook every half hour. The iChat icon isn’t bouncing on my dock, and if Lester Lefton is sending me four e-mails a day, I am none the wiser.

I moved into my first place a few days ago, and setting things up has been harder than I’d expected. Because of a gas company loophole, we can’t cook. Because of shoddy wiring, we can’t access the Internet. At first, my roommates and I were OK with being disconnected from the world. After a few days, we found ourselves starved for entertainment.

Without the Internet, my turntable has gotten quite the workout. I have knit two pairs of socks this week alone and I’ve spent hours sprawled out on my bedroom floor reading issues of Good Housekeeping from the 1960s. My bicycle and I have gotten to know every pothole in this city. Few things are more satisfying than watching the world spin from my front porch.

In truth, I never knew how much time I spent with my eyes glued to a computer screen until it was no longer an option. I never realized how completely reliant my generation had become on technology until I took a step back and began doing things without the aid of Google, Facebook or cnn.com.

I find myself sickened by how much of our culture exists purely in virtual format. Think about the last time you sent a letter. Try to think back to the last time you had your pictures printed at the drug store. Better yet, can you remember the last time you called a friend to hang out instead of shooting them an informal text message? How many of you are reading a tangible copy of this newspaper instead of reading it in the abstract?

That MP3 everyone is talking about this week cannot be held in your palms and most of us don’t know what to do without MapQuest plotting every road trip for us. I’ve grown so accustomed to typing my class notes that I can no longer read my own handwriting.

Sadly, our collective reliance on technology is only bound to worsen as time goes on. A child born today may never have to tab through a dictionary or trek to the library to find out the most minute fact. My generation came of age in a time where the Internet was a fairly new idea, a generation sandwiched between the new and old ways of obtaining information.

Clearly, I do not have a vendetta against technology. My editor wouldn’t be too pleased if I handwrote my columns and mailed them to the Daily Kent Stater.

But never mind that. I just got the Internet back and someone just sent me a video about cats.

Sarah James is a junior public relations major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].