The Cadre | UPEI

Internet withdrawal

Once upon a time, in a land not that far away was a household of students with a perfect internet connection. The end. Well, not really. This story has a darker ending. I clearly recall squinting hard in the bright morning light and frantically checking all connections on our router. My eyes hadn’t adjusted to the bright daylight and my head was pounding with a serious hangover. As a household, my roommates and I had been through thick and thin. In times of real crunch, we stood brave and unfazed, until three weeks ago when we lost internet connectivity for an entire day. Our router had malfunctioned and what followed right after left us speechless, thoughtless, pizza-less, Netflix-less and with a suitcase full of paper planes.

Here’s what happened, the horrid events unfolded at around 11:30 that morning. It was a Sunday. We had barely woken up and gathered our wits from the previous night’s heavy drinking (I promise you we’re not alcoholics *nervous laughter*) and we realized that our internet was down. Normally when human beings are that hungover, it takes them a good hour to find their limbs before doing something brave like I don’t know uhhh….standing up? We, however, were up and stumbling through the house defying all logic and discussing strategies to respond to this serious crisis.

It wasn’t until quarter past noon that we had exhausted all our means. Signs of internet withdrawal had already begun to manifest as hangry outbursts. For the next twenty, minutes we helplessly stared at the blinking lights of our router secretly wishing for a miracle. Those twenty minutes felt like a lifetime (and we were one Whitney Houston song away from bawling like little helpless children). It was imperative we snapped out of this trance… although we knew that we had to wait until Monday to contact anyone for help, and that was a full 24 hours away. A truly frightening prospect.

The absence of Facebook and Instagram felt like a lack of oxygen. There was no Netflix and our ravenous appetite for TV shows was consuming us from within. We sat there in our living room like zombies, reopening the same application, mindlessly trying to reconnect to our network.

All that time it felt like we were waiting to be rescued from ourselves. We had forgotten what it was to be alone with ourselves. The sight of our living room wasn’t unlike a Hopper painting, we all looked sad and were indifferent to each other’s company. Our faces showed how trapped we felt in our own minds. Accustomed to a steady and constant stream of distractions in the form of movie trailers, music tracks, advertisements, Facebook ad campaigns and TV shows; our minds couldn’t handle being left alone.

It will go down as one of the darkest days we endured. Even though it has been more than three weeks since that day, somethings have not returned to normalcy. I remember vividly how one of my roommates was doodling that day, on paper! The last I saw of him that evening, he was giggling manically as he finished his sixth colouring book. To date, he carries a spare coloring book and some crayons with him everywhere he goes, just in case of an emergency.

My other roommate wasn’t so fortunate, we saw him robotically staring at his computer screen that flashed a chilling phrase, ‘There is no internet connection’. Later that night our neighbour told us that he was seen whispering to their potted plants; she was legitimately concerned for her plants.  As for me, I tried to cook myself a meal and almost set the house on fire. I tuned the guitar and made paper planes for the rest of that night. I had almost seven hundred planes by daybreak and not a single one of them took flight.


By: Adi Vella

This article is part of The Cadre’s Humour Section.