Connectivity Restored

Friday afternoon our cable modem died. After talking with tech support, I had the choice of immediately driving into town (half-hour each way) to exchange it before the office closed (early) for the holiday, or waiting until Monday to make the swap. Friday was a busy day, and I couldn’t deal with a “drop everything” situation, so I punted and turned off the router. For what it’s worth, I never once thought of reverting to a dial-up modem.
It was interesting having a forced disconnection. On one hand, there was a holiday, lots of family time, etc., so in theory I was busy and wouldn’t be on the net much. On the other hand, connectivity is a big part of my routine, and having some routine stability during holidays is nice. I dislike the continual disruption in every aspect of my life during the holidays – different foods, at different times, with different people, typically with more alcohol, more sugar, more carbs, less nutrition, less sleep, more commitments, more traffic, more observed frenzy. Yes, most of these are under my control, but not all – especially within the realm of family expectations – and somehow “the holiday spirit” carries us in less predictable ways. On the plus side, Lynne had the idea of bringing asparagus to the family dinner, which turned out to be great. It was the only green food on the table.
Coming home to the familiar world of the web, blogs, Mac OS X, email, my to-do list, and Doonesbury is comforting, I suppose. That probably sounds pathetic, but I’m one of the more stable people I know around the holidays, and this is a “whatever works” moment. It would probably also work to eat a more regular food mix, at a regular time, with two or three people instead of 15, with less or no alcohol, and minimal sugar, more nutrition, more sleep, fewer commitments, and zero retail excursions. Good luck.
Reading all this makes me sound fragile and unable to cope with change, but in fact I’m a well-adjusted, high-functioning change agent whenever possible. I guess the holidays simply appear crazy, and I protect myself as best I can. In summary, perhaps the net makes me feel connected to a larger community, and when the physical/analog/local community is enthralled with frenzied consumerism, and self-destructive gluttony, the larger community is a useful construct for averaging the emotions. This was obvious only in its absence.
Oddly, the inverse of this is also appears true: Sometimes the larger digital community is overwhelming and disconnected and abstract, and the antidote is to turn it off and take a walk or have coffee with a friend or read a book.
Originally this post was to be a simple “I’m back” message. Who knew I had something to say about how the net intersects with our routines and larger sense of community?