Tomorrow, I’m leaving for a week away in Newcastle. It’s where I grew up and most of my family is still there so I try to go back at least once or twice a year to visit. It’s always strange. It doesn’t feel like going back home – it hasn’t been my home for well over a decade now, and I don’t have any particularly fond memories tied too closely to place or locale – but there is a certain inevitable nostalgia about any time spent there. Stuff that’s changed, stuff that hasn’t. Stuff about me that’s changed, and stuff that really hasn’t. For better or worse.
Anyway. For practical purposes, a visit to Newcastle for me means very limited internet access. This is primarily because I’m staying with my mother and she does not have an internet account at home (“I can do anything I need to from work, Kirstyn.”) She also lives in Maitland (about 40 minutes further up the Hunter River from Newcastle) and at last check there is still no local internet cafe. Five billion and one “antique” shops, but no bloody public broadband. So I take my laptop with its cruddy 56K inbuilt modem that only gets used in desperate times such as these, and dial up every couple of days to check my email which is about all my patience can stand.
Usually, I try to view the whole thing as one of those fabled retreats from technology which are meant to be so good for the soul. Usually it sort of works. I realise that I don’t actually *need* to have the internet at my beck and call, and I do feel a little clearer of mind after being unplugged for a week or so.
But right now, for various reasons, I do not want to leave the internet behind. I’m dreading being cut off from certain things, certain people. I’m already having withdrawal symptoms and minor pangs of anxiety. It’s not good. Last week, I seriously considered buying an iPhone. Cause, you know, I need to have 24/7 access. To everything. And everyone. Need it.
Welcome to the 21st Century, McDermott. Now, when do we get those implants?