Two weeks without the internet has its upsides, says Anneka Harry. But without Google, who was going to answer all those little queries for her?
For the past fortnight I’ve only had half an hour’s internet access. Honestly, don’t refresh your browsers (no unexpected errors have occurred here); I really have lived to tell the tale. Not only have I been enjoying an island-hopping holiday around the Caribbean, I’ve relished a holiday from all the clicking, swiping, liking, posting and oversharing.
The latter has been the least missed. How blissful it has been to avoid incessant photos of everyone’s NutriBullet snot smoothies and Facebook parents who upload their sprogs’ every bowel movement. What has been most surprising to me is just how much I’ve struggled without ubiquitous access to information. Google processes in excess of 3.5 billion searches a day. At least a billion of them, it seems, may usually be mine.
As the new year swung into action I’ve awaited friends’ declarations of varying levels of ‘Smartphone Dry January’ attempts. Internet and mobile phone addiction has been covered so much it’s as though we are now addicted to stories about being addicted. ‘One woman took so many selfies her eyes are stuck in smize and her arm has been replaced with a crane’; ‘A man swapped his newborn for the iWatch on Gumtree.’ Technology addiction has gone viral.
“My internet purge highlighted that my concentration levels and memory are shot and search engines have usurped my ability to discover new information from books, or indeed, human beings.”
The effect it is having on our lives and minds in the long term, however, is still being investigated. It’s as though we are the guinea pigs for these statistics and we’ll all be Tumbling and Instagramming our demise until the day are brains are exchanged for external hard drives.
On that note, my internet purge highlighted that my concentration levels and memory are shot and search engines have usurped my ability to discover new information from books, or indeed, human beings. Every time I went to reach for my phone while away I took note of the query. Below is a (very abridged) selection of my frustratingly unanswered questions:
1. What’s Spanish for ‘I wouldn’t be interested even if I was single’?
2. What’s the difference between a normal mile and a nautical mile? (I did actually ask the captain of the ship this one but felt like Wikipedia might know better than the expert.)
3. A Jamaican man just asked me if I had a “neegle-eye”. What is this? (Don’t Google if you are easily offended or under 18.)
4. Is it still OK to use a sauna if you’ve had six Cuba Libres?
5. What does ‘pugilistic’ mean? And ‘hesternal’ and ‘grawlix’? (And approximately another five words a day from my holiday reads that I never knew but tried to crowbar into conversations anyway.)
6. Is it humanly possible to exit a swimming pool without getting a bikini bottom wedgie?
7. Is there a YouTube tutorial to replicate the constant ‘towel swans’ left by housekeeping? (My attempt without looked like a goose on crack.)
8. What actually are the Cayman Islands? (Beautiful though they are, I rather embarrassingly had no idea where I was.)
9. My mosquito bite is now so big it should have its own theme tune. How long have I got to live?
10. WILL THERE BE WI-FI AT THE NEXT ISLAND??3322 Views
Anneka Harry does comedy and hustling for a living. She smells like thrift shops and ambition. Stalk her here http://www.vivienneclore.com/artiste/anneka-harry/ and @Annekaharry.