I learned this past week that my family can’t live without the Internet. It’s a basic necessity in our house ranking right up there with plumbing, electricity and grocery store runs.
This became apparent when our FiOS box died on Sunday afternoon toward the end of the Ravens game. The TV blipped out, our seldom-used landline went dead and our computers were cut off from the World Wide Web. Help wouldn’t arrive until some time on Tuesday. Until then, we were out of luck.
My first reaction was panic. I do a huge amount of work from home and depend on Internet connection. I also tend to work in small increments of time between taking the kids to activities and picking them up. It’s not like it would be convenient to head to Starbucks to connect.
The kids were also a bit annoyed when they realized there’d be two whole days without Youtube videos, snap chatting and FiOS TV. The older kids soon realized, however, that they had a bigger problem — homework. A majority of high school homework requires going online. They need to download assignments, upload their answers and Google, Google, Google. Without the Internet, they were a bit academically crippled.
We managed to survive the 48-hour ordeal thanks to a very accommodating neighbor who lent us her dining room table and her WiFi access code. There was a steady stream of Steins crossing the street Monday night with laptops in tow.
As fate would have it, the Chesapeake Family website was down at the same time. So Monday evening, I found myself with absolutely nothing to do between swimming drop off and lacrosse pickup. I was at a loss with no work, no Facebook and no television to keep me busy until my husband reminded me I could read a book. What a novel idea! It was blissful.
So spending 48-hours off the grid didn’t turnout to be a total disaster. It could even have been described as fun in a campy sort of way. But as Tuesday dawned, I worried about what would happen if the technician couldn’t fix the problem or if I missed his call, I started feeling a little panicky again.
There is nothing worse than being totally dependent on something you have no control over. And for better or worse, we have become totally dependent on the Internet to carry out our daily lives.
FranklyStein is a blog by Chesapeake Family Magazine editor Betsy Stein who lives in Catonsville with her husband, Chris, and four children, Maggie, 15, Lilly, 14, Adam, 14, and Jonah, 9.