On addiction

In the middle of a darkened room is a desk, at which sits a person shrouded in black shadows and with a bright light shining up in its face from a computer screen. The curtains are still open, the house is getting cold, it’s pretty well night time by now.

The person is sitting there and doing not much else but hitting F9 on its keyboard: checking emails. Over, and over, and over again.

Joe Citizen is addicted to his internet/email/computer. He has been using the internet since he was a young teenager in 1994. He is a self-confessed geek, though he has only basic knowledge of coding. Well, he can’t code javascript, but he can write HTML and CSS well enough to build a functional website with a bit of flair. His search engine skills are phenomenal, but he couldn’t teach you how to do it without getting frustrated. His email writing abilities are incredible, but just you try to get him to go out in public.

Did I mention that he’s addicted?

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I have come very close to being seriously addicted to my computer. It doesn’t feel right if I don’t get a million emails a day. Now that I work from home, my primary contact with “people” is via email. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. One learns diplomacy very fucking quickly when dealing via email all day; you try sending a bland, blunt email to someone and see how they react!

Recently, my beloved internode experienced a major infrastructure problem that killed all emails from Friday morning (19/09) until 4 pm today (Sunday). No emails. No business emails or personal emails; nada. Nothing. Zip. Freak-out? Mmm. Kinda.

I’m not the kind of addict to freak out. I’m the kind that gets battered with jokes from loved ones about not being able to take my computer with me to places: that’s when you know you must have a problem. So what did this little internet/email/computer addict do with her time away from the screen?

Well, besides sending off some much-needed emails to a mate whose computer had crashed (with files attached that he’d lost), which I did on my secondary email account – and blessing the fact that I still had secondaries of secondaries in case anything went awry – I spent some time in the sun. I read a book and remembered the joy of it. I read the entire Weekend Australian and absorbed more of it than I normally do. I took notice of the fact that the financial markets must be baaad, because of where the financial pages were placed (at the back, instead of in the middle, of the business section), and had time enough to deride the awful “new look” of the Weekend Australian Magazine.

I spent more time with my loving man than I normally would. I ate, drank coffee, smoked too much. We went to a mate’s place Friday night and stayed there until 4 am Saturday morning. We decided on a new place to live, had some great conversation, and watched two films and a series of Father Ted.

All that, and it wasn’t even Sunday yet!

Yep, internet outages aren’t necessarily wonderful when they happen. But to a little addict like me, sometimes it’s the best thing that can happen.

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