My laptop is my prime source of information and entertainment. I was enjoying excellent internet service for three weeks, watching television (with a licence) and playing those online games that I had been unable to indulge in while living with my parents because they only had internet to one computer and that was a very old one with stronger defences against downloads than the Pentagon. Then one Thursday morning I woke up and it had gone. I explained this to the landlord and his wife explained it to him again in Lithuanian. He rooted around but nothing changed and now I am left bereft. Yes, there are other things I can do. I still have games that run off disk and do not need me to log on to Steam or Blizzard. Living with my parents I built up a good range of DVDs from charity shops which can last me a while. To some extent I can still write fiction. However, I find unable to apply myself to any of these things.
I discussed this problem with the woman who used to live in my house. She had no internet connection for three weeks when a worker cut through the telephone line near her house. Getting this resolved proved a nightmare as her provider has no control over the physical provision and even BT’s abilities to repair it were hampered by what work the council would permit. This loss of internet affected her even more than me as she was unable to pay her rent or apply for housing benefit or a motorcycle licence and certainly found it impossible to apply for most jobs she is qualified for or to find property to rent in order to restart her business. However, like me, she also found that there were mental effects, she found herself unable to concentrate even on activities that did not require the internet; she would go to bed earlier so that the evenings would not seem so long and dreary. I am suffering these precise symptoms and cannot write even though, in fact, I have fewer distractions than normal. Partly I have become so used to checking facts online that now I do not trust myself to write without making grave errors that I might not spot. This sense has been fostered by online reviewers who see a book as completely contemptuous if it gets even very minor facts wrong, or indeed, diverges from the ‘accepted’ viewpoint on a topic.
It is incredible how mentally an internet connection has not only become necessary in order to carry out various activities, but we feel somehow debilitated when it is not there. I am going to see if I can buy some add-on to enable me to link to cloud provision as otherwise I see my life suffering because I have lost my connection to this mental umbilical cord. The only benefit seems to be that I am now in a better position to understand the feelings that teenagers feel when they have lost their smartphone or have not checked it in the past ten minutes.