Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Internet Anonymous

Hi, my name is Milam and I’m addicted to the Internet.

And the virtual group says in unison: Hi Milam.

It started out in the mid-90s. It was a novelty thing and everybody was doing it. I thought I’d try it once or twice. Just a bit of email and checking out the rudimentary travel websites they had back then.

I made a great penfriend named Jennet who still keeps in touch today. My college even encouraged us to experiment with the new technology, giving us all user IDs and email accounts on their clunky old non-Windows based system.

It seemed innocent enough back then. I had no idea how addictive the stuff was. When I went on to grad school I couldn’t live without my AOL account. My heart started racing when I’d hear the high-pitched scratchy noise of the modem connecting. Now things are silent, like putting the menthol filters on cigarettes. That way we don’t realize just how often we’re connecting in a day.

My dependence grew when I met Remi. Internet was our main way of communicating what with the time difference and an ocean between us. A day without an email from him back then was cause for worry or nervous breakdown. We used MSN chat to “talk” since phoning would have been so expensive.

And now he often looks over to me in the evening as I write one last email to my mom or friends and he waves weakly and reminds me I’m married. To him. Not the computer.

I’ll admit I have a problem. I can’t resist a little email check before work, if I’ve got a free five minutes. Or on my lunch hour. And when I get home I sometimes juggle Juliette in my lap as we both fight for the keyboard (she often wins) to check yet again. Or I wait for her to be engrossed in some toys to check my work schedule online or upload a few pictures to friends and family.

I wait for precious moments of calm to update my blog. I feel the need to read other people’s blogs and follow their lives. While not always living my own. Now there’s Facebook, which I use sparingly. But it has its addictive charms,too.

But I don’t think I’m totally to blame. Don’t you think the big corporations out there are feeding our desires? Every product’s got a website, you can check your bank balance online, you can search for jobs and watch news videos. It all adds up to more screen time. More fingers tapping on the keyboard. Less looking out the window.

I don’t know that I can really kick this thing. It’s become my lifeline to communicate with the world. But maybe AOL and other websites should put a pop-up window on that says, “Warning: The Internet can cause you to lose all interest in everything else. “ It might save some lives. Or marriages…


Anonymous said...

here here. Everything you so, I say ditto! Except I'm also addicted to facebook. aggh

Crystal said...

lol it's funny you wrote a post about that today because yesterday Max was saying we are going to have to transfer our internet/phone line to the new apartment soon which means I won't have internet for a week or two. He got all serious,looked at me and asked, "are you going to be ok?"....lol I guess he knows how addicted I am too and I'm already freaking out a bit about getting cut off!

Crystal said...

P.S. Since when do you have comment approval set up? I don't bother only because if someone posts something I dont like, I can just delete the comment.

Anonymous said...

I definitely know where you're coming from, I'm completely addicted! I come into uni every morning and check emails, read blogs and news back home and check up on Facebook. I also check sporadically throughout the day. I watch tv on the net at night too. British Boy and I have at times been sitting in bed with our laptops. Its a good way for expats to keep in touch with friends/family and whats going on back home, but its also got to the stage where I have to take my laptop into a lab with no wifi just to get my PhD written!!

BusyB said...

lol : ) Yes I have a feeling a lot of people have the same problem!


Lindle said...

You know it's bad when you turn on the computer to your email service BEFORE you make the morning coffee.

You know it's bad when it's the LAST thing you do at night before brushing your teeth...hoping there might be one more soul out there who wants to post a comment to you.

You know it's bad when you expect an instant reply to an email, like within minutes, assuming that EVERYONE has nothing else to do but respond to you.

We do need to realize these computer screens are windows to the world (of a sort), but real life is outside the windows that matter.

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Jenenz said...

Overall, the Internet has made it possible to meet people you would never meet. Or make it easily to keep connected to your loved ones. I couldn't work or do business at my job without it. We have faculty all over the world and the internet has helped us stay connected.

Where could I watch and listen to BBC programs, listen to Neil sing when he's at Radio New Zealand? I'm glad not to have to make cassette tapes to trade.

And, the truth is, it's a part of my life and I've had to make it NOT my life. I've put myself on an Internet diet. At home, I only log on and check email and surf the Net on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays evenings, and one hour on Friday. I go cold turkey on Tuesday, Sat. & Sunday. It's hard, but, I enjoy having the time to do other things. I guess it makes me feel like I have control over my life.

Don't feel bad about your love for the Internet. It's kept us all connected and informed. We all share good news. And we can watch Juliette grow into a beautiful girl who can shake her booty and sing out loud.