Is It Civilization if There is No Internet?


Every year we travel to my mother-in-law’s for Thanksgiving. We visit with her and my brother-in-law and see my brother, sister and nieces on the weekend. It’s wonderful and a lot of fun, and we hang out and play, watch the parade, take pictures, visit the cemetery as people are wont to do on the holidays, and go shopping. It’s all very civilized. We actually did pretty well this Black Friday. We started at 1pm, finished and home by 3. Gotta love Target’s two day sale! We did a proper Black Friday once. It was actually a lot of fun. The kids were little, and we were finished before 7am and went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast. It was still barely light out.

The one challenge we do have every year is that all of us are connected. My daughter wants to video chat with her new friend. My son wants to watch You Tube. My other son wants to keep in touch with his friends who were home from college and catch up on his medical/paramedical podcasts. My husband and I also have our digital vices.

Unfortunately, my mother-in-law is not connected. To anything. No internet. In fact, all her neighbors have password protected wifi. I’m usually against ‘borrowing’ other people’s internet, but this might be classified as an emergency. Sadly, we do not know their passwords.

It’s almost impossible in this tech centered world we live in to gauge the amount of time we spend online or attached to some sort of social media site. Our friends are so far flung out that we almost forget how far they really are because they are always so present in our daily lives.

Well, during Thanksgiving week, we do know. Apparently, I check my Facebook and Tumblr first thing when I wake up. I post about my day all throughout the day, and I attempt to blog here every day. Every. Day. This is not usually such a challenge except for the pesky writing bit, but during Thanksgiving week I am finding it next to impossible and have to adopt a new writing ritual.

I spend my afternoon thinking about what I want to write about, and then I spend the evening typing and editing and rewriting, and then proofreading, saving, etc. I can set it up and find my photos in the gallery from earlier that day or the day before that goes well with my words on the page…er….screen, and then there is the frantic attempt to find wifi the next morning. The kids ask constantly – do they have wifi wherever we go They do, but can you use it is the real question.

The first place I posted from was the local Starbucks. I had a free drink waiting, so it didn’t cost anything, but we did look kind of stereotypical, out of touch, constantly attached to the digital world, forgetting about the “real” world or meatspace. It’s Thanksgiving morning and all five of us were crammed into a small booth, each with our faces buried in our various smartphones and/or tablets/Kindle Fires. At one point, I noticed the family of three sitting next to us. They had a coffee and the boy was on a smartphone. I can almost always tell when someone is watching me (although I think they were checking out my keyboard), so I looked up and caught the mom’s eye. I laughed, she laughed, and then I even said, I know we look ridiculous but my mother in law has no internet. She laughed. She seemed to understand our predicament.

The second day I was more ready. I had everything set up as a draft in Word Press and as soon as we got to DQ (Dairy Queen) for lunch, I connected and hit publish. Easiest five minutes I’ve ever spent.

At this point, my kids were having trouble connecting their devices. Mine remembered from our visit in the spring, so it just automatically connected. I was online in a matter of seconds.

Today, this will be posted from my brother’s dojo. He has internet, wifi, but he hates that we come to visit and use it and go online, but it is our only opportunity to get our stuff done. Yesterday when I connected at DQ, I had fifty-eight emails waiting to be read, and that was with checking them on my 4G phone earlier. (The 4G kills the battery, and I can’t post to WP with that – that’s why I don’t use it as often as my keyboard and kindle.

We go home tomorrow for The Walking Dead and Pizza Hut’s Triple Treat.

The question in the title must still be answered:

As civilized as we’ve become and continuing to become, is it really civilized if there is no access to the internet?

The answer remains to be seen.


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