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08/17/2004 Archived Entry: "Staying connected (and sometimes wondering why)"

FOR THE LAST WEEK MY INTERNET CONNECTION HAS BEEN ... well, I think the technical term for it is "stinky." Or perhaps real geek jargon for its condition would be "putrid." I get five minutes -- maybe -- of good connectivity before my zippy super-fast DSL service starts carrying all those bits and bytes on snail-back. And then the snail dies. So I restart the network (thank heaven for Linux, which makes that easy) and try for another five. My ISP spent the first three days denying it had a problem and the last three saying how much it values its customers and is diligently working, etc., etc., etc.


The Internet has done awesome things; no denying it. Among its many wonders, it's made it possible for me to work at home, for clients I've never met in organizations thousands of miles away. But this is one more reminder, in an ever-growing heap of reminders, that I may be spending more time serving my computer than my computer spends serving me. Between equipment failures, hardware upgrades, software upgrades, application freezes, sticky keys, reboots, spam-deletion, getting distracted (and depressed) by the daily overdose of news, and dealing with the Net's whole complex, time-consuming (but often gratifying) social world ... I feel like an acolyte in the worship of the silicon calf. A low-level initiate in some arcane monastic order dedicated to the adoration of the HTML code.

Day before yesterday I took a big pair of clippers to my blackberry brambles -- while scarfing up plenty of nice, ripe berries, straight off the vine. I helped the local yard guy build a log bridge over a tiny streamlet on the hill behind my house. I wasn't really much help; I'm sure I was actually of more use to the project when I was running up and down the slope to fetch bottles of water or bring down scrap lumber to hold the ankle-deep mud at bay -- that is, when I was leaving Mr. Yard Guy alone to do what he knows how to do. But it was good. Sweat. Mud. Timber. Good.

Yesterday, with the Net clogged with doomed snails, I sat at the computer for hours anyway. But actually writing instead of rushing off to look at the latest URLs to arrive in the mailbox. Writing about a character who (among other things) was having his own sweat, mud, timber experiences. Not so good experiences for him; good writing for me.

I must eventually go into the woods and the beach and up to a lighthouse to research this character's travels. Poor me. How I suffer for my art. No connectivity, not even by snail-back, on the beach.

Posted by Claire @ 07:23 AM CST

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