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Adele Elliott: In the grasp of the hydra

 

Adele Elliott

 

My little world has been filled with glitches lately. This may be because the planet Mercury has been retrograde for several weeks. Mercury rules travel and communication, and can wreak havoc with our driving, speaking, writing and a myriad of like things. 

 

My problems might possibly be blamed on the fact that the computer's modem was fried in a sudden and brief storm this week. There was almost no rain, but a lot of thunder, and a power outage that only lasted a few seconds. Evidently, that was enough to destroy the modem. This sort of problem is typical of Mercury retrograde. 

 

What all of this means is that I was forced to operate at a great handicap. For a few days, life at my house was sort of like time travel. My husband and I were transported decades back into the technologic world of the early 1980s. (Horrors!) 

 

Much to my surprise (and fading memory), there were no dinosaurs roaming the Golden Triangle. However, in this archaic reality, there was no Internet. That was perhaps worse than life before penicillin and elastic waist bands. 

 

No Internet meant that I could do no research for this column. (Yes, I know it seems as if a bunch of gibberish springs, unedited, from my brain, and I put it on paper. I promise that is not true. I actually do some research, decide to ignore it, and then put my apparent mindless ramblings on the page.) 

 

I also host two Internet radio shows. Without the Internet, I was unable to contact my guests for the pre-show interview and directions to the "studio." Nor was I able to post the times and upcoming guests on Facebook. 

 

Of course, we still had phone service. But lately, I have become so dependent on email that I avoid voice communication at all costs. Alright, that probably makes me seem a bit insane. I prefer to think of myself as quirky, or eccentric. Those words sound so much kinder than the local explanation -- "That girl's got snakes in her head." 

 

That very colorful snake image is a good metaphor for the Internet. It is a beast made of thousands of wires and cords, twisting through the atmosphere, into our walls and electrical outlets feeding our laptops, iPads and PC towers and ultimately piercing our intellect and psyche. But this multi-headed snake is even more treacherous than a cobra, because the venom is as addictive as heroin. Once bitten, there is no release. 

 

I suppose, in some ways, we appear more intelligent with the Internet. I would come across even more like an idiot without spell check and an online encyclopedia. In truth, those are crutches. The Internet hasn't made me smarter. I think it has only made me more lazy, more dependent on technology. Does anyone remember the old days, when we actually went to the library to look something up? We would never do that now. It is just too tedious. 

 

Eventually, Mercury moved forward, and a new modem arrived in the mail. Three days seemed like a month without Facebook, email and game sites. 

 

My household is once again connected to the world outside of Columbus and surrounding counties. (Hallelujah!) But, these days made me wonder how I became so addicted to something that didn't even exist for half of my life. I haven't really tamed the beast. It would be more correct to say that I have adapted to this new life where Internet access is a necessity, not a luxury. 

 

So, if anyone wants to contact me, my email is working, and I am back on Facebook, where those who are bored enough to "friend" me will be amused (or not) with lots of photos of cute animals, some slightly liberal posts, and notices of my Internet shows. 

 

But don't bother to phone, since I seldom answer that antiquated invention.

 

Adele Elliott, a New Orleans native, moved to Columbus after Hurricane Katrina.

 

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