If I Only Had the Internet

Every once in awhile, we’re reminded of how dependent we are on something we take for granted. This week I was reminded once again of how much time I spend on the internet.

While we wait for our new house to close, my husband and I are housesitting for friends on the opposite coast. The neighborhood is gorgeous, just a few minutes to a nearly deserted beach. The house is lovely, too. Unfortunately, though, since Tuesday it’s been a house without internet. The modem died a quick and hopefully painless death, and replacing it isn’t as easy as it sounds.

I’ve now discovered a lot I didn’t know about this area. One, the barrier island where this house is located has no wifi hot spots. It also has no library. The closest free wifi is across a bridge on the mainland, and so is the library. Luckily the mainland Panera has wifi and great lunches, and today I’ll try the library to see how easy it is to work there.

But what do I really need the internet for? I mean, a few emails here and there, a quick check of Facebook, and I should be set for the day, right?

Here’s what I’ve discovered. One, every bit of negotiation for our new house is being conducted online. With our realtor. With our insurance agency. With the friendly sellers. Then there’s the remodeling of our house in New York. Our contractor sends photos  to comment on.  You saw one in my last post.

Next we have communications on the house we’re living in now, and the owners, who need to be kept abreast of changes here.

And did I mention work? Both my agent and editor usually communicate by email, with things I need to take care of quickly. I receive reader mail to answer, mail from colleagues, requests and offers. My new brainstorming partners are working out details for our November session. My fellow authors on a new Christmas anthology are sending facts and questions back and forth because our books are connected.

Social media? I like to check my Facebook reader page a couple of times a day to respond to queries and comment. I tweet occasionally. I hop on my Pinterest boards to see what’s new.

Finally, the hardest part. Research. The novella I’m working on for the anthology doesn’t require a lot of research, but it requires good research. The name of a particular wine grape. What a vineyard owner might need to do to his vines in December. What a systems analyst might do if she worked for a consulting firm. The ins and outs of snowmobiling. All just normally a click away.

So this has been a lesson on how dependent I am on a good wireless connection. How about you? If you didn’t have access to the internet right now, you wouldn’t be reading this. But what would happen if you were suddenly cut off? Do you know how dependent you are?  Take a moment and count the ways.

Of course, since I imagine the nearly unimaginable for a living, I’m now asking myself what would happen if the entire internet system went down all over the world. What would happen? How would people respond? There’s probably some research that would give me important insight.

If I only had the internet.




  1. Laura on October 19, 2012 at 8:35 am

    Too true!! I like to say that I prefer doing everything the old-fashioned way, but I have to admit that I’ve fallen for nearly every new techno-gadget out there. And the internet is like the air I breathe. I work from home, so it’s crucial in order to get a paycheck; I live in the country, so my social life is expanded greatly by it; almost everything but milk and eggs I buy online; my hobbies involve extensive online research. When my internet goes out (an occurrence which, unfortunately, is frequent), I’m truly frazzled. Panera is my friend. For someone who thinks of herself as old-fashioned in so many respects, it’s a little embarrassing…..

    • Emilie Richards on October 19, 2012 at 9:12 am

      I feel your pain. We should buy stock in Panera.

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