I barely had my coat off when my co-worker delivered the blow.
“The Internet is down,” she said. She used the same grave voice she had used when she told me her sister had been in a car accident. I dare say, this was worse.
“The Internet is down??” I said.
When she confirmed the news, I put that coat right back on, ready to head home. I mean, what good is a work day without the Internet? Do you know how many things you can’t do when the Web goes down?
You can’t check email—an honest-to-goodness tragedy. I pictured urgent emails piling up, countless Border’s coupons going unread.
You can’t browse Amazon or Christmas shop on Etsy.
You can’t check the weather every 15 minutes, leaving you vulnerable to surprise tornadoes.
You can’t update your blog or read other blogs.
You have no idea what’s happening in the world. You pretend you did before.
You can’t watch Surprised Kitty on YouTube 17 times in a row.
And you can’t possibly work, even if your job is only 2% reliant on going online.
When co-workers emerged from their cubicles, confused and agape after hearing the news, we huddled in the reception area and well, talked. Given the lost art of conversation, (thanks, Internet!), it was strange to interact in a group. But, once we got talking and laughing, the digital immigrants shared memories from a time when this was all we knew. A time when the Internet wasn’t down, but non-existent.
“Wild,” some students said.
“So, if I have to look up a word, I have to use the old-fashioned dictionary in my cube?” one writer asked.
“We could play Scrabble,” another offered.
Sitting around the metaphorical campfire sharing stories, it felt like we were snowbound or trapped in a simpler time. A time when we worked a full day. A time when we caught up with others in person over coffee. A time when our eyes never needed a break from technology. A time when there was never a worry about the Internet going down. A time that I miss and marvel at simultaneously.
In the end, I decided to stay at work and stick it out with the rest of the staff, roughing it, as it were, and then rejoicing with them when the word came that the Internet was back (!) and we scattered faster than children at the mention of the word “bedtime.”