Today marks one week since our internet connection perished.
In one week, a new culture formed in our flat.
We became more social, we went outside, we took up hobbies. We watched movies and played board games instead of hiding in our rooms. We plunged at the beach and scored some free surf boards. For the record, I have never surfed, but shall document my attempts for your reading pleasure. Stay tuned.
We ate together, broke dishes together, and defined our personal jargon for each other’s benefit. We met engineers, medics, musicians and gardeners, each with their own way of expressing themselves. I signed up to attend a lecture on mechatronics and learned the definition of Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy. I was taught my first song on a guitar that I’ve lugged around for five years, and I joined a man called Clarence under a tree to study the soil that kale likes best.
FYI: We have no intention of growing kale.
Yesterday, I locked myself out of the house for the umpteenth time, got sunburned trying to break in through the roof, and met our neighbours in the process. Skeptical of my youth and our dubious neighbourhood, they spoke through locked doors as I pled for a ladder. Up, as it happens, is a journey of confidence and curiosity, while down is a mockery of the unathletic.
The point of this article?
Ten minutes ago, our internet was restored. I stuck my head in my laptop, writing and submitting what you now read. The boys retreated to their rooms, by the sounds of it playing virtual shooting games. A surf board lies half painted outside, a card game abandoned mid-shuffle on the bench. A scrape on my shin itches, the revenge of disturbed roofing tiles. The old culture has returned to the flat, with these few reminders now seeming out of place.
Like frogs in a slowly simmering pot, we do not realise our changing environment until it is upon us. I am blessed to have had a childhood of skinned knees and grass stains. I wonder how many scars I would bear today if the World Wide Web had never graced our presence. How many reminders of activity would continue being active?
Without the internet, you and I would likely not connect. Life would be more difficult and knowledge more scarce. There is no doubt that the boiling pot is a blessing, but so was this week without it.
As the university semester begins, I prepare myself for a new shipment of assignments. I reacquaint myself with this trusty laptop and the internet company that my degree relies upon. This week offered freedom and activity beyond the screen. Unlike kale, I intend to let this freedom take root. It is every university student’s dilemma to balance investing in their work with striving to live beyond it. Maybe I will last a week and be overwhelmed, perhaps I will champion the semester.
As classes kick off, you will undoubtedly witness the highs and lows of balancing my final year. You may read of dreary library cubicles or exciting, grass-stained adventures. Even drying paint has its upside though- so help me, the board will hit those waves!
So I end a week in Perth without internet, and I start the semester with a plan. A feeble quest as it were, to ensure this shin never stops itching.
We all seek balance in our lives, and I hope you achieve yours. And if you can balance on a wave, please, pretty please, give me some pointers!