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…