This was the sign that mocked me for 24 hours last weekend.
The photo is desperately ugly, showing my clunky keyboard in all its 1990s glory. That’s what happens when you take a picture on your phone, without using Instagram. This is just one of the things I realised during my 24 hour ban.
The blackout was necessary as part of my show on Heart. (So hellish was it, that I blogged about it there too. Clearly, I felt deprived of blogging to write about the same subject twice in as many days.)
The challenge came after I expressed a total lack of surprise at a story in the news last week. Apparently lots of people would rather do without heating and running water than the internet. Seems obvious really. I mean, I use the internet for pretty much everything, but I can always put on a jumper if the heating goes down or run outside to the nearest massive puddle if the water stops.
My colleagues were aghast though. “You use the internet all the time?” They asked. “Couldn’t you go without it for even a day?” They asked. “Are you addicted?” They asked.
So to prove that I wasn’t addicted, I joined up with Aly who blogs at Plus 2.4 and began an internet blackout that lasted from 8pm Friday to 8pm Saturday. In the name of science, the ban extended to the entire family. No gaming for the (self-proclaimed) Northern Love Machine. No Spotify for either of us. No YouTube Wheels on the Bus action for Frog.
I thought it would be easy.
And at times it was. Like on Friday evening when my husband and I settled down to watch a film. It was relaxing to be able to watch the film without feeling the urge to tweet about it. But it was less relaxing to have to choose a rubbish title because we couldn’t use the Love Film streaming service.
And everything took so long.
Need the number for the local Chinese takeaway? Of course you can’t look it up online. That’s cheating. You have to use Yellow Pages like you live in 1992. Except the Yellow Pages has disappeared so you have to actually ring a directory enquiry service. Expensive and time-consuming.
And then on Saturday morning, there’s no perusing of recipe blogs and websites to plan the meals and the supermarket shop for the following week. We were reduced to the one recipe book we own, The Student Survival Handbook from 2003. It’s no wonder we’ve had baked beans every night since Saturday.
In the supermarket there was panic. (Clearly a trip to the supermarket was required, as online shopping was out of the question.) Realising that he didn’t know if he’d yet been paid, the NLM went to check his account through the App on his phone. But of course, that wasn’t allowed either. So he had to dash out of the supermarket, leaving his trolley behind, and queue in the pouring rain for 15 minutes to check his balance at the cashpoint.
I missed about a gazillion cute moments. Every picture I took on Saturday ended up being deleted. Stuff just doesn’t look cool when you’re used to the Instagram filter.
And don’t even get me started about the lack of email ability. By 7pm I was desperate to peruse my inbox and check to see if any vital emails from clients had gone unanswered.
In the end I spent a great portion of Saturday asleep. While Frog napped, so did I.
I also cleaned the bathroom, weeded the garden, watched Free Willy 3: The Rescue (surprisingly good) and painted my toenails.
And when I rejoined Twitter and Facebook at exactly 8pm on Saturday evening? Turns out I hadn’t missed much.
But I won’t be doing it again out of choice for a very long time.