Thanks to mind-blowing levels of incompetence that poisons the service provision industry, I was left without internet access in my apartment for 20 consecutive days.
In this day and age, it is almost unthinkable to spend this amount of time offline, and for good reason. I use Netflix and Spotify, I work and study from home, and all my iPhone messaging services require web access.
I’d like to share with you, dearest reader, how this accidental social experiment unfolded. It was surprisingly similar to the five stages of grief and loss.
Day 1-2: DENIAL
Oh what’s this now? Must be an outage. Not to worry, these things happen. The internet will come back soon. Just use your mobile data for now (bad mistake).
This is what academic literature would describe as “A defence mechanism that buffers the immediate shock of the loss.”
Companies wouldn’t leave me without the internet for days, I thought. This isn’t really happening.
Day 3-6: ANGER
After realising that this is indeed happening, I spent the following days calling internet providers, being the out-of-her-mind bitch every customer service representative dreads, turning modems on and off, shaking my fist at the injustice and ranting about my situation to every single person I met.
In bed I couldn’t sleep because of the anxiety this situation was causing me.
The bright side was that I tried to distract myself by giving my house a very good clean.
I involved a toothbrush and cleaned areas I didn’t even know existed. It all smells like lemon now.
Day 5-10: BARGAINING
At this point I realised this was going to take longer than anticipated, and anger wasn’t going to help.
In a desperate attempt to regain control, I became an expert on network configuration, I tried to hack into my neighbour’s wifi, sat in cafes for as long as possible stealing wifi without ordering anything, considered rewiring phone cables myself and moving to South Korea where the internet is known to be super amazing and accessible everywhere.
Alas, I have no hacking skills, I spent more than I should have on coffees I didn’t want, and you can’t book a flight ticket to South Korea without the internet!
So, I filled a hard drive with movies I stole from work and pretended to have Netflix. I also found my old iPod nano and pretended it was Spotify, clearly some sort of 2006 playlist.
Cooking. I cooked everything. I baked cinnamon rolls. I entertained the thought of killing a crustacean and making a fancy French meal. But of course, lobster recipes can only be found on the.. you know.. oh God…
Day 11-15: DEPRESSION
Faking it only works so long before the truth dawns on you. I was excluded from the rest of the world, I was disconnected, and the shackles of my offline existence slowly began to rub and burn on my skin.
So, with varying beverages in my hand, I sat in a chair, stared out of the window and contemplated life, the world, God, the universe.
While some might say this would be a spiritual experience, it was truly depressing.
If you think about these things too much, you start feeling overwhelmed by your lack of understanding of the meaning of life, and upset for all that is wrong with our existence.
Eventually, your heart simply starts bleeding for the world and all you can do is surrender to this agonising Weltschmerz.
This pain was intensified as I ran out of mobile data.
Day 16-19: ACCEPTANCE
Darwin already hinted towards this a long time ago: Adapt or Die.
As dying is the less favourable option at my tender age, I decided to simply accept this situation and work around it. I developed an efficient schedule which allowed me to fulfil all my online needs in the office in the morning, and accept the fact that at home, I’ll need to do something worldly rather than virtual.
I imagined walks in the park, maybe spending more time on the beach, going out more and socialising, maybe even doing an Eat, Pray, Love kind of thing when…
Day 20: IT IS BACK!!
Tears of joy streaming down my face, I abandoned all previously mentioned plans and wanted to google my every thought.
The state of my mind was only comparable to a dog who just realised his owner is coming home; I couldn’t concentrate, howled, jumped around, threw myself on the floor and couldn’t contain my excitement.
In this state of ecstatic idiocy, the first thing I googled was the word ‘internet’.