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Stay Connected


Jason Rimbaud

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Current Music Selection: Papa Roach?the paramour sessions

Current State: California

Current Mood: Hungry

In this fast paced life we live, the term ?being connected? has come to dominate our terminology. From the slow dial-up modem to the faster than light connection of DSL, Internet cafes, ?wired cities? and desktop PC?s, almost every human in America has a love affair with this Super Information Highway. (Write thank you note to Al Gore)

I can get up-to-date scores on my cell phone, watch my Satellite TV right on my PDA (Sling-Box, the fourth greatest invention) send and receive dirty pictures of nameless ?internet? friends, keep in contact with my friends back in Pennsylvania, and thousands of other features we all take for granted.

And yet sometime Wednesday morning, I lost my Internet connection. Okay, let me explain. Unlike his Dudeness, I don?t live in a third world country. I live in one of the most wired cities in America. How did I lose my Internet connection? I?ll explain.

My roommate, Daniel, never bothered getting Internet access at his house. Mainly because he is one of the cheapest people I know and for four years he had been happy stealing access from one of his many neighbors. When I moved in, I bought a wireless card and enjoyed the same freedom. But Wednesday morning, okay more like afternoon, I got out of bed and turned on my computer to check email and to make my daily peruse of AD?s forums.

?NO INTERNET CONNECTION AVAILABLE?

For a moment I sat there staring at the screen. My poor brain could not process the words. I didn?t know what to do; it was as if I reverted back to a child seeing the microwave work for the first time. Much like the scene in Zoolander, I reverted back to my primal self. I frantically tried to sign on again, like maybe I hit the wrong button the first time around. Or perhaps I had forgotten how to connect online. After failing six or seven times, I called Daniel and asked him for advice. I?m not sure what he was suppose to do but apparently I lost my mind. I felt naked, it was the first time I was ?not connected? and much like a junkie, I was in full-blown withdrawal mode.

I even called my friend, Ann, in Pennsylvania, a tech-junkie that has forgotten more about computers than I?ll ever know, and asked her advice. Surely she?d know how to get my fix, wave her magic wand and say poof, may the fairy have Internet or some such shit. Well, I can tell you she did call me a fairy, but mainly because I interrupted her during an important meeting, and if she had the ?magic wand?, I?m not sure waving it would have been her first act with said wand.

Undaunted, I continued my quest to get ?connected?. I grabbed my laptop and walked around my backyard, trying different spots to see if I could steal someone else?s access. No dice, why do all my neighbors have their modems set up for ?secured access only?? The nerve of some people, keeping all that porn to themselves. After screaming at random houses from my backyard, making sure my neighbors knew how I felt about them and their private access, I sat down and tried to conceive a plot to once again become connected.

I considered breaking into random houses around my neighborhood and stealing the access code from the back of the modem or pretending to be a repair technician and steal the access code that way. I went as far as to look through my closet for any clothing that might resemble a repair technician?s uniform. I was in the process of combing my hair, you know parted on the left side to look more like ?them?, you know what I mean, straight, when Daniel came home.

After listening patiently to my plan to steal the access code, he shook his head and said, ?Why don?t we just call ATT and hook up our own high-speed Internet.? Or we could do that, though my plan to steal it seemed more adventurous. Is it just me or is stolen Internet access somehow more fulfilling than the Internet access obtained legally? Like maybe you get access to better porn sites if you steal it or something.

I guess the point of this post is this, for four days I went without Internet. Though I must admit the first two days were the hardest. By the time access was restored, I had stopped shaking and most of the craving has all but disappeared. Upon returning home from work Saturday night, Daniel had written me a note saying the Internet is now up and running. I ran, not kidding, I run full blown down the hall, my shoes echoing on the hardwood floor, waking up Daniel and causing his dogs to temporarily lose their minds.

The two minutes it took my computer to turn on was the longest two minutes of my life. I sat there in my chair, staring at the screen, willing the programs to run faster, I hadn?t even bothered to take off my jacket. By the time my little computer in the bottom right of the screen started blinking, I was in a full-blown frenzy.

My hands were shaking as I waited for Yahoo mail to open up. Who had emailed me in the four days I had been away? How many fan letters did I receive about So Called Chaos? Who did frame Roger Rabbit? I need answers to all these questions.

Finally the page opened and my eyes found my in-box folder, there it was, big as life. ZERO. I had been gone four days and no one sent me a single email. Which brings me to my present state, how did this monster called ?Information Super Highway? ever get such control over our lives? I felt naked and lost during my four day absence yet I missed nothing. It was all there just as I left it, the same porn sites, Awesome Dude, Nifty, History Channel, youtube, they were all their just as I left them.

Do I really need to be so connected I was willing to break into someone?s house? Have I forgotten how to talk to someone face to face? Why do I feel alone in a crowd yet feel accepted in a chat room filled with other lonely people looking for the same thing I search for? Maybe I need to ?disconnect? periodically and go out into the real world. Head off into the wild blue yonder and find my life instead of hiding behind profiles or screen names.

Fuck that, bring on the porn and faceless tricks via cameras. I say fuck the world, or at least until the world has a place to maintain a constant connection. Until then, my ass will be planted firmly in my chair, a smoldering cigarette in the ashtray, an empty bottle of wine on the floor, and me wearing no pants. Cheers all you junkies out there, technically we aren?t alone. Remember, if everyone in the world would, at the same time, unzip their pants, it would be a sound that would echo across the world and out into space. Let the aliens know we all aren?t hell bent on destroying the world. That at least some of us, just want to stay connected.

Jason R.

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OMG. I can sooooo relate. I'm on cablemodem, and every once in a while something goes wrong. I don't know what, maybe a car hits a pole and breaks the wires. Who cares? I don't. All I know is that when my e-mail program samples my server for incoming messages (every minute) and it comes up with "Error. No Connection" I just about lose it. I reboot, I turn the modem off and on, and I'll wait 20 minutes on the line to the server, only to have service come back on before I ever get through to a human being. It's pathetic. It's modern life.

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