Since we moved last summer, I have learned many things about myself. I don't speak Italian well at all, getting up at 6 is significantly harder than getting up at 6:30, and I don't do well without internet. None of these are huge surprises, but I am very surprised at the depth of my attachment to reliable internet access. I had no idea just how much I use the internet, and how crazy I could be if I didn't get my fix on a regular basis.
We lived in a hotel for two months this summer, and the internet was spotty. Not awful, but not up to the standard of a hotel in the States. Some days, I felt a little frustrated, even a lot frustrated, but not enough to make me insane. When we chose our house, we knew that it might be a small problem getting a high-speed internet connection, but I wasn't concerned. There was always cellular internet, and our next door neighbor/landlord offered that we could use his network until we got our own set up. I was remarkably unperturbed by the fact that I didn't have a solid internet connection planned. After all, I work on the internet, and that is how I talk to my friends, and entertain myself. Internet is a pretty big part of my life.
Once we had signed our lease, we looked into getting internet at our house. In order to get internet, we have to have a phone line, and it seems that is more challenging than one might think. It seems that in our area, all the "boxes are full." I think they actually mean that in a telephone box, all the little connections are full. I'm still having a hard time figuring out how a country can function when they can't even give people phones, but I've given up on actually understanding. So, no high-speed internet for us.
On the day we moved in, I went to the cell phone store and got a snazzy modem that can connect two computers to the internet via the cellular network. It isn't awfully expensive, either, running just one Euro a day (unless we go wicked over, which has happened, but shouldn't.) This has worked pretty well, except for occasional loss of signals, and when I don't realize that we're almost out of money on our account, or when I really, really need to call the IRS in the States and I don't have enough bandwidth to use the Skype telephone service.
The last month or so, however, our internet has been working poorly in the afternoon and evenings. There are nights that I can't get a connection at all. I'm thinking that this is to be expected - this country just doesn't have the infrastructure. What wasn't expected was just how upset this makes me. Oh, I get antsy, and anxious, and really, really aggrevated. I want to throw my computer out the window. How can I check the kids' lunch menus? How can I work? How can I Skype with my husband? How am I going to play Scramble? HOW AM I GOING TO FUNCTION?
This is all very interesting to me. I'm not much for the TV, and I don't like talking on the phone. I'm an awful letter writer, and many times I am just as happy to stay home as go out. I had no idea how much I relied on the internet for my news, my communication, and my fun. I'm pretty sure some psychologist would have all sorts of opinions about my unhealthy attachment to the internet. I'll never know, because I'm not going to ask.
And I'm not going to search the internet to find out, either.
photo by P i c t u r e Y o u t h