Life without WiFi

I’d rather be out here instead.

In the weeks and months leading up to the Big Move-In with Spencer, we talked endlessly about two facets of life in our new place: the fact that he does not have cable (the horror) and, worse, the stunning truth that he also does not have Internet.

I’ll repeat that again, lest the crushing weight of this truth didn’t settle heavily onto your chest the first time: Spencer does not have Internet. We do not have Internet at home.

Look, we all know I’m addicted to technology. From Instagram and Facebook to Flickr and Etsy, I am online all the time. Like most twenty-somethings who remember life without social media, however, I often think about the toll it takes on my everyday relationships . . . you know, the ones with people waiting for me to stop snapping pictures of my wine slushie and just drink it. Not long after I got my first iPhone, I remember Spencer literally getting up to put it on a shelf on the other side of the room (“for my own good,” he joked. Or should I say “joked.”)

I felt anxious. Genuinely anxious. Like, upset and itchy and freaked out not to have that little portal connecting me to the outside world. When we visited the UK for two weeks in 2011 and I was totally sans online access (save the times I broke down to put a few pounds in the hotel lobby’s computer), I honestly felt like a crack addict itching for her fix. It was even hard to concentrate.

It’s been more than a week since I moved into a place without Internet — or cable. And though I’ve been endlessly busy with unpacking and organizing the upcoming wedding (less than three weeks!), I have to share words I never thought would leave my lips: I only kind of miss it.

Cell phoneNow, let’s be frank here: I’m definitely not without online connections. It is not at all the same as going abroad for two weeks with literally no access to anything digital. I didn’t realize how much I’d come to rely on my phone for everything from weather reports and maps to keeping in touch with my friends and boyfriend, and how dependent I’d become on that stream of communication.

So no, I’m not stranded in a digital desert without any water. I realize this. There’s my iPhone, for one — still ever-present in my little paws. And, you know, I’m online for eight hours a day at work — albeit not doing personal projects, so it is different. But still. I’m not disconnected, and I’m not pretending to be. But as someone who routinely spent all day on a desktop followed by all night on a laptop at my parents’ house, this is . . . unusual.

But not unwelcome.

I’m writing this at Mom and Dad’s on Sunday, popping onto the family computer to touch base with a few folks I didn’t reach during the week. I reported a non-paying bidder on eBay (why, why do people do that?); I put my beloved Etsy shop on vacation because I can’t keep up with “Harry Potter” scarf orders beyond the current fill (which is an awesome problem to have). Just, you know, putzing around online while I wait for Mom to get ready so we can run errands and do whatever nonsense we feel like doing on a beautiful fall day.

And I don’t need the Internet to do any of it.

After a few weeks of no WiFi at our apartment, I’m sure that familiar ache for online access will return — and I’m sure that, down the road, we’ll break down and sell our souls for some sort of monthly service plan. I know I will really miss the Internet when I want to work on pictures after the wedding, because how will I upload all of them? That’s when I get a little itchy and weird: when I think about getting my pictures online.

But I’ll cross that bridge when I get there. For now, there’s a whole big world out here just waiting for us.

And I’ll only Instagram some of it.