In Miranda July's indie film "The Future," her character Sophie greets her husband Jason at the door as he is coming home one day, frantically telling him she's cancelled their internet service for the next month, and they have just enough time to "look up important things" before it shuts off entirely. While watching this film with my own husband, he (I had assumed) jokingly asked me what I'd do if he did that. Not wanting to reveal myself as a complete internet addict, I told him I'd be just fine. "It might even be fun" were my famous last words.
I did not realize he'd been inspired.
I was decidedly not fine.
We don't subscribe to cable or any newspapers. I rarely buy music, choosing instead to stream it for free online. Most of my friends, I keep in contact with through email or Facebook. The internet is our window to the world at home. It's what we have instead of practically everything else. So when it was gone, what could I do? How was I going to entertain myself and the young children that frequent my house, and magically know all the things the internet provided information for, like knitting patterns?
Well, the first day, I cleaned. Then I walked around, admiring my cleaning. Then, when I realized I was about to go stir crazy, I went back to the library.
I got 10 magazines, 5 dvds, 2 books, and, of course, checked my email, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram, and used the wifi to download all my favorite podcasts onto my ipod. Within just half an hour, I was all set to go home and not be completely bored, clueless, and isolated from civilization.
That was a few days ago. Since then, I have calmed down. I've stopped sadly walking the edges of my house, hoping against hope that one of my neighbor's wifi signals magically opened up. I've almost forgotten what I used to do online every five minutes. I watched the first season of The Venture Bros, which I had forgotten how much I like. I've read The Graveyard Book, March, and am working on Doctor Who: Shada, the Lost Adventure by Douglas Adams. I even finished a few DIY projects for the holidays, thanks to the crafty books on the 4th floor, all without the internet's help. I've read countless books to my son, and he's gotten to see some old-school Sesame Street, which we never would have even thought to seek out online.
Seriously, without the library and its materials, I don't know what I'd be doing internetless. Definitely not magically knowing how to make vegan gift baskets on my own. But thanks to these things being available to me, it's not only been not-horrible, but actually a really stimulating way of taking a break and exploring new things I might not have discovered if I'd stuck to my own little niches online.