Hello, my name is graysong, and I am an Internet addict.
I didn't realize the depth of my affliction until this week when I lost my Internet connection. I just survived 72 hours without web access or email. This was my longest time offline since I first got online back in 1982. It wasn't pretty.
You have to understand that I've been on a constant infomation drip since 1982. My first modem was 300 frickin' baud. ( A speed that meant that the text —everything was character-based, there were no graphics to speak of back then— appeared one character at a time. It was like there was some hunt and peck typist/gnome putting the characters up on the screen. I was on CompuServe and Delphi. I was on the BBSs. I was on AOL when it was cool. When real ISPs became affordable, I switched. In short, I've been at this a looonnng time. You can't stop a 24-year, couple-hundred-Mb-a-day habit cold turkey. There's a price to pay.
The nightmare started when I decided to change my ISP. I had my service scheduled to be turned off by my old provider one day and turned on by my new one the next. This meant I had a scheduled service interruption of one night. No biggie; after work that's only 4–5 hours of actual awake time. I'd just take in a movie with a friend that night. The next day, while I was at work, everything would magically go live. I would finish the set-up and presto, I'd be surfing FartBrazil.com 3X faster than I could with my old provider. I wouldn't notice the interruption.
As soon as the blackout came I began to realize that I had a problem. Not being able to check my email immediately put me on edge. ( How bad am I? I have a long commute drive and I drink a lot of water. When I get home, I check my email before I hit the bathroom. Sometimes I'm 'dancing' while I check it. ) Fortunately I couldn't dwell on it as I was taking in an early movie. I was only home for about 30 minutes before I left.
The movie was good and enabled me to forget for a bit that I had returned to the communications stone age—at least until the end when a URL flashed on the screen. I started repeating it to myself like some sort of mystical cybermantra to memorize it, until I recalled the effort was pointless. I had no way to look the damn site up when I got home. Suddenly, I felt full-force information hunger. My fingertips began to itch.
I got home and stared balefully at the walljack. Thank god I would be reconnected the next night! I had only been without service for about 4 hours and I was already antsy.
When I got home from work the next night the line was still dead. Something had gone wrong with the installation. Worse, my new provider insisted that it would be at least a week before they could send someone else out.
Apparently the representative was moved by my hysteria, sobbing, and suicidal declarations. She 'found' an appointment 2 days out. Another 48 hours without access? This was definitely not good. The itchiness in my fingertips had been replaced by an actual burning. That evening I dreamed that the Bush administration had stripped me of Internet access. They had been secretly monitoring my websurfing and had determined that even though I was obviously not a terrorist, I was obviously corrupting the moral fiber of Amurrica ( and was probably also involved in the War on Marriage ) . I had to be stopped.
The workday provided a small distraction, but I was disjointed and unable to focus. That evening was even worse. The TV taunted me: every commercial, every show pimped the 'net.
This teasing made me desperate. I needed an info-fix. I have wireless. Maybe one of the neighbors...
I punched more than clicked the Network drop-down. There, nestled among the networks with names like Wizard of Oz ( obviously the girls on the first floor ) , studio, and the henderson's, was the magic phrase 2WIRE44—the default name given to some routers' networks. You often see it when some silly Windows user hasn't bothered to set a network password. I selected 2WIRE44 and fired up my web browser...
...GOOGLE! OK, so I'm breaking the law, but I'm junkie-desperate see? At this point, if some little old lady had walked by with Internet access jingling in her purse, I would have mugged her. I can sip access from here until my own is turned back on. 2WIRE44 doesn't have anything to worry about. Unless, of course, my dream is real and the Bushies are watching.