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Feeling a disconnect from rest of the world

Computer problems open door to a less instantaneous time before Facebook updates and YouTube videos

For a few days there, I went back in time.

I was back at that nasty place where people could not instantly find out what the forecast is, and where they could not instantly find out the news of the moment, and where they could not instantly chat with their friends on Facebook.

I could do nothing instantly.

My computer was down. It was, I discovered later, a battery issue.

"My computer won't turn on!" I hollered.

This, after pressing the power button for a good six hours, and getting no response at all. "What am I going to do?"

The husband and son looked at me, and shrugged their shoulders. After all, they had no concerns. They were able to instantly do whatever they wanted to. They could download photos. Read the headlines.

Check out YouTube. Write an email.

I pressed the power button again, but no lights went on.

I flopped down in a chair, and pondered the possibilities in a wireless world.

I could write a letter, but then I'd have to do the unthinkable: put it in an envelope and mail it. I could watch a movie, but then I'd have to do the unsavoury: go to a store and rent it.

"This is crazy!" I moaned. "I feel so unconnected!"

The world, I reckoned, was carrying on - instantly - without me.

People were posting items on Facebook, items I knew nothing about.

People were sending me invitations to events and no doubt assuming that I was unbelievably rude for not responding within eight minutes.

I phoned my mother. My mother, who does not own a computer, does not care about Facebook or YouTube or anything instantaneous.

"My laptop isn't working," I complained.

"That's too bad, dear," she said.

"I don't know what to do," I said.

There was silence on the other end.

"What are you doing?" I asked.

"Oh," she said, "a little of this and that. A little knitting. A little reading. If the weather clears, your father and I may go for a walk."

I looked forlornly at my computer. And then I looked outside.

"It's brightening out there," I said to my mother.

"Well, then," she said. "Why don't you go for a walk, too?"

I faced up to Facebook, and knew I wouldn't be posting status updates anytime soon.

"I enjoyed our chat," I said to my mom, and then I say goodbye.

I grabbed my coat and opened the door, and blinked in the winter sun. The headlines would wait, and the email too.

I'd go for a walk to who knows where, and on this day, I'd take my time.