Friday, April 29, 2011

I'm Not an Addict.

I know what you're thinking. The first step is just admitting you have a problem. But I really don't. I'm fine. I can live without it. I don't NEED it to carry on. I can quit at anytime. But it's everywhere. I can't do anything without wanting it. But just because I want it doesn't mean I'm addicted to it.

I'm of course talking about the internet.

What did you think I was talking about??

Yesterday Western New York had some serious high winds (85 miles/hour in some areas!), and many trees came down and with them telephone and electric wires. And even in areas where there wasn't physical damage, the high winds were enough to knock out cable and internet access. My classroom lost internet a few different times for a few minutes at a time.


Like I said, I don't NEED to be connected to the internet. But it's a nice convenience. How did I survive before the internet? What did I do with myself? (Yes, I was actually born in the Pre-Internet Age.)  I would write letters. By hand. I would listen to music on shiny discs or (gasp!) on cassette tapes. I talked to people on the telephone. A telephone that plugged into the wall. When I wanted to see what my friends were up to, I would go to the mall or hang out with them at their house.

But that's all gone now. Now we have the internet. Luckily when the internet would go down at work, I could just get on my smartphone and see what was going on in my little world.

One of the classes I teach is a computer basics class. A majority of my students are born in the 1930s and 1940s. They're mostly retired senior citizens who have grandkids who are always on the internet. "Can you show me how to get on the book face?" is a common question I get with new students. Evidently the only way they can communicate with their children or grandchildren is to get on Facebook and Instant Message them. Or write on their Wall. These students of mine are going straight from no internet knowledge to trying to comment on a picture of their grand daughter at a frat party: "Who is that nice shirtless boy holding you upside down over that keg?" They also are attempting to learn a new language. They are trying to understand what OMG, LOL, IMO, and BRB mean. And don't get me started on LOLcats. "Why do these cats want so many cheeseburgers?"

What are you getting on about, chaz?

Yeah, I kind of went off on a tangent there, didn't I. Well, what I was trying to get around to was the fact that these Computer Basics students of mine lived 75% of their life without internet, and now the only way they can talk to family is with a computer. The only way they can book a hotel is with a computer. The only way they can find a deal on a Hoveround is with a computer. How do they deal with this take-over of technology? They all have cellphones and it takes them twenty minutes to send a 3 word text to their grandson. It must be very depressing to them. They probably enjoy when the internet goes out.

But not me. I feel completely disconnected from the world when my internet access is cut. So maybe I am addicted. A little. But at least I can admit it. And that's the first step toward recovery.

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