I knew he'd been on the phone with technical support for a long time one morning, well before the kids had gotten up. Being the wise woman that I am, I just offered him coffee, then stayed out of the way. At one point I couldn't avoid walking into the living room, though, and was surprised at an unusual sight for our house in the early morning: the TV was on.
I didn't have to ask him whether we had internet or not. His laptop was beside him on the floor. His glum face showed the battle scars of cyber warfare. He didn't even look up at me as he said drily, "I forgot that this is how we used to get our news."
Yep. A real person. Talking. Commercials. Waiting for the weather report! Before kids - which was before internet - we even used to read an actual PAPER. Pay bills by mailing a check in an envelope with a stamp. Take pictures and actually get them printed. Write letters to people on paper that they could hold in their hands, read again and again, and maybe even put in their sock drawer.
Those were the days!
My friend Jenn sent me an interesting article written by a young man who bemoans the loss of real toys that kids used to play with. Now it's all iPods, video games, and a MySpace page that gets changed daily. He says,
The world of the internet and virtual reality demands higher expectations out of kids at ages that once required only a basic piece of molded plastic to keep them pleasantly distracted. They demand more because they instinctively distrust and are underwhelmed by the invisible world that they are being forced to grow up (quickly) into.If kids put as much time into a scrapbook as they do changing their layout and uploading pictures, they might have something permanent to remember their growing up years by. He concludes the article by telling parents to get off the Wii (OUCH), go buy a REAL ball and glove, and go play catch with your kid.
This morning's Fox News SciTech headline (Powerful Solar Storm Could Shut Down U.S. for Months) made me think about this some more. One solar storm could cause a "cascade of failures" that could literally cripple our modern society. Everything from electricity to phone service, to potable water, to food and medicines. Halted.
I'm not worried about that right now, although that reminds me that I want to get moving on my vegetable garden. And I think there might be an old well on my property...
In the olden days, people would say, "What would you save out of your house in case of fire?" Wedding photos, journals, special mementoes, perhaps.
Now I suppose the question is, "What would you do if you knew your computer and the internet were going to be permanently fried?"
Well, I'd have to start watching the news, or (gasp!) start reading the paper again, I suppose. I'd miss the convenience of online bill-pay, and I'd miss being able to connect with my friends and family with a few keystrokes.
But most of all, I'd miss my digital photos, my journal (written in Word and stored on my computer), and my "other journal": my blog.
I've got about half of my blog downloaded, but hundreds of journal entries and literally thousands of photos that have never been printed.
The next major Sun storm is expected in 2012. I suppose I'd better get started making it real.