It’s a simple tale. Were I living in the 1700’s, with no broadband, I would be dead. Death would have been boredom, or gin. Back then I reckon Gin would have been cheaper. There was little time to be bored when hunger pains, labour and disease were taking up all of your time. No, it would have been the gin.
When I give tours in London and talk about ‘Mother’s ruin’ in particular, I often think, of course quietly to myself … well, what would you do living like that? Take the gin and drink yourself to death, as living was just not an option at times. But I digress.
The preface to the story. Past years and staying here a short while and letting most of the while, met my reluctance to pay for broadband in the house. My visits would come down to three best friends: my UK phone, my ancient 2008 Nokia SA pay as you go phone and a router with data to be bought, switched on and off and suffice for the time.
As she is here for longer.
Dutifully she decides to get broadband. The powers that be must have been fighting in Winterfell, where its cold, everyone wants to kill you and no time to heed my call. I buy data on the router, and more, and more and there is a thief afoot! The data circles the drain and disappeared before I could say ‘Come back, little Sheba, come back!’ So I complain and buy some more, and more and whoosh … the thief I believe is watching Youtube. Aside, the little Nokia has the battery life of a sigh and dies regularly so limiting to say the least but I resist here, I want my UK phone, cling to it. Need it. Costly, but rebellious on that score.
Enough she cries as the Lords are still absent with my broadband – I will not pay another cent for data. And so the Winterfell of moi begins.
Imagine if you will the scenario. Daytime visits to connect with the world. I stalk cafés and lurk near the plug point. I get fat for the shame of it. Then comes the evening at home. Nothing. Absolutely bloody nothing. It’s ok I say, I can pretend I have gone camping and make the most of the hours till morning. Well, um well, it’s six o’ clock. Okay, I say, it will be about thirty minutes to bath … and then. Seven o’clock. The phones and laptop are silent. Dark now. Fiddle with thoughts.
Now one thing that did make a million mile trip around the world was the collection of DVD’s. Remember those? My fingers trail the movies on offer, all of which I have seen a billion times. True, I have reconnected with Magnum PI. The entire series of Friends, Midsummer Murders and every other movie from two decades ago. Find myself counting minutes to bed and for me, that is what I remember my mother doing, it does not suit me. The world is moving outside these walls and I am pacing the floor, watching the candles burn, listening to the radio (which I thought I liked and now loathe for no Spotify). Now nothing. No dailies, no facebook, no Instagram, no connection, Oh My Lord this is excruciating! Where is the embroidery?
I know my daughter is to New York, son to Wales, other daughter acquiring a new puppy and I cannot deal with not being able to message, laugh at photos or even emoji kiss them goodnight. Emails are lost, dates for appointments vague, research well, research work, kaput. And the mornings, me up at five from going to sleep at nine, with a cup of tea and wishing the shops would open. I pick up wi fi outside random shops, drink too much coffee all in the attempt to reconnect.
Note: let’s just add the empty post London diary and I am to drink for sure. Try to pretend to live like those ages ago without Internet and you know what … can’t be bothered. Perhaps if I were putting babes to bed or talking to spouse about the war it would be different but now … can’t be bothered with the silence.
I think the crying helped. Today the technicians (will not mention the length of time for the battle must have been lost at Winterfell and all returned to work) arrived. They connected, me, not so much. More drama, some threats and more wailing but behold, I am back in the world of technology and darling, I do love you so. I am valid again, in touch again and all is well in the household of the mother with children on the other side of the world.
Of course Judith Dufour was hanged for killing her baby to sell the clothes for gin. With such a shite life, gin deadened the senses and murdered the mind long before she swung on the rope. Not condoning anything but after this spell, understanding a little more. I would have been a hag of note back then, if I had been deprived of basic life, of love and broadband.
Suffice to say, living in this day and age, being so dependent on technology and communicating with life out there, not having it has been more than bottom of the pond scum awful. And interesting. Time, rather than the lack of it, became the too much of it.
In this new chapter, with all the doing and Ewings of the day, all I can say is I missed you all out there, it’s lonely without my daily Paris, London, everything fix. Glad to be back.
And no, didn’t do the Gin. Did the wine as after all, I am in the wine lands which is so much more appropriate, don’t you think?
Now to the business of not going to bed at eight, staring at everything around me and getting back to business. The business of life as we know it now, and it is good.
Image: TNT magazine.