The day started out like most others, but this would be a day that all would remember, the day where the Internet no longer existed. Humans rushing frantically around in the morning before commencing their days of work, study, parenting or whatever it was they were to do. Most rose in a dreary and tired state from years of sleeping with their phones, tablets or even their computers. Notifications had become like breathing, they did not even bat an eyelid at the fact that each time their phone buzzed or beeped, they would respond without question.
Driving into work that day, an all too familiar sight was around me. At each traffic light, everyones heads were down looking at their phones, scrolling through their newsfeeds, uploading photos, and creating Snapchat stories. I found this intriguing as I waited at the lights behind a bus with an ad along the lines of “thanks for not touching your phone while driving”. A pity this fell on deaf ears, and there were no eyes to read it, as all around they were glued to screens.
The lights turned green and the vehicles made the typical delayed start as they had been for a few years now, as one driver realized that they were in fact behind the wheel of a moving vehicle and chose to look up to see what was happening – that being the act of driving.
Horns sounded of vehicles that missed their turn at the green light because the person at the front was uploading a video. The horn blowers not realizing the hypocrisy that they too were documenting their trip to work on the Internet, just as guilty as the driver ahead they had become angry at.
The tone in the air changed as I approached the city, and as I got closer to my office. The buzz and dull hum of life seemed almost to go completely silent, like when the power goes off in the middle of the day. As I walked to my office, I noticed a look of fear in people’s faces, I could not pin point exactly what this was, but something did not seem right.
You know that building of momentum of humans before the end of a sports match, where they are all anxious as to what the outcome will be when the final siren goes? There was an oozing of desperation and a clinging to hope in the air.
I arrived at my desk and was met with the news that the Internet was not working. The sheer panic in the voice of my co-worker was like something I’d never expected to hear over something seemingly so trivial.
“The Internet is down!!!” she exclaimed.
“What are we going to do!?!? How will we get anything done!?!?”
Negotiating with people in fits of hysteria was something, which I had grown a skill set in over the years. I’d often felt like I was in training for a moment in time that was yet to manifest, one where I would be called on to ease the panic of the masses.
Was this the time now?
Was my calling to soothe people over the loss of the Internet?
A million things were running through my mind, my facial expression was firm and poker face like. As much as I could think of other things I would like to be doing with my life in the absence of electronic connectivity. I was feeling more and more that my life’s work was just about to begin.
Stay tuned for part two next Monday the 19th of September, 2016.
This piece was also published on Medium.