There was an eerie silence in our home Friday. No television. No Internet videos. Just … people.
Every so often, our Alexa would speak up: “Sorry, I’m having trouble understanding right now. Please try a little later.”
YouTube was more blunt: “Not connected.”
For about a day and a half, our house was off the grid. To hear our children tell, it might have been a month or a year.
A contractor dug up some concrete behind our house Friday morning and, in the process, cut the cable that carried our Internet signal.
We’d already dumped cable TV in exchange for streaming services a few months ago, although that same cable TV would’ve been disrupted by that same cut.
Our 9-year-old said, “It’s like we’re living in olden times.”
We’re not exactly living like the “Little House on the Prairie” out here. We still have electricity, running water and plenty of gadgets. We just didn’t have Internet. It’s more like “Little House on the Year 1994.”
On Saturday morning, we really felt the impact. When our oldest daughter’s boyfriend came to visit for her birthday, everyone sat around and talked. Sure, sometimes people might be in the same locale in an ordinary visit, but they’re seldom paying attention. Someone’s looking at a WiFi device or staring off into space at the television. Without the distraction of the web, everyone listened and interacted.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a strong advocate for the web. I see its amazing power to bring information and goods to the masses. It keeps me in touch with high school and college classmates with whom I likely would’ve lost touch. I’ve even made some new friends locally via Facebook.
It can also be an incredible time-waster. There was something amazing about seeing my children interact with the real world, if only for a day. Their mom was off work Friday when the line got cut. The girls had a marvelous day with mom, working on craft projects and baking up delicious cakes.
Usually those types of activities are half-hearted at best among our girls when the technological options seem endless.
This was like watching that scene in the “Matrix” where Neo breaks out of his pod and realizes how the world truly looks.
Sadly, it was a short-lived visit to reality. By mid-morning Saturday, our little technical wizards realized you could beam a cell phone screen to the television. They resumed their regular roles of staring off at screens. By the afternoon, the Internet fairy fixed the cut line and returned the web to our home again.
Perhaps something connected with them about reality, though. Perhaps they’ll see the benefits of … Wait, there’s a new Snapchat message I have to see. Reality will have to wait.