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Zero Bars in 6 Hours

An experience with living in an internet-less world

There is no escape from technology. We use it for communication, work, and many other parts of daily life – it’s arguably impossible to live without it. However, a question came to me from this fact: in today’s world, is it possible for someone to live internet free? If so, for how long? For the sake of knowledge (and a course assignment), I attempted to go on a technology sabbatical for six hours to see if this was possible. What I discovered really surprised me – and might surprise you too.

9:00AM — Awakening

When I woke up at 9:00am that morning, I habitually reached for my phone. Only after feeling the rugged texture of my phone case did I realize that this phone would have to remain unchecked for the next six hours. This didn’t bother me at first – there were more important things to do than check Reddit for dank memes. I proceeded to go through my morning routine. Once it came time for breakfast, I cooked my regular of eggs and toast and sat down to eat. I grabbed for the television remote only to remember that any button on this remote is forbidden. This led to a very quiet, lonesome breakfast. It was so quiet I could hear the delicate dropping of toast crumbs on the tablecloth. Is this what a lack of internet sounds like?

10:00AM — Discovery

With breakfast done, I began thinking about everything that needs to be done today. As I thought of things, one by one I realized they couldn’t be done since they required technology. I began to question if anything could be done. Out of nowhere, a breeze of air blew past me, guiding my eyes to a dusty whiteboard in the darkest corner of my kitchen. As I walked towards it, I began to see that it was filled to brim with writing – almost akin to a flurry of letters. Once I finally approached it, my eyes jolted as they read the two terrifying words that was at the top of the board: chore list. In doing all the things that require technology, I had completely forgot to make time for other important things. With nothing else to worry about, I decided to start chipping away at the list of chores.

11:00AM — Fulfillment

There was so much work to do on that list that I hardly had time to think about anything else. I began with doing the dishes, then proceeded to scrub the counters, and then sweep the floors. Before I knew it, I was practically refurbishing the entire house! With each chore I could scratch off my list, I felt slightly empowered and fulfilled that I finally completed the task. The only glaring omission from this was the lack of music I usually listen to when doing chores. Without it, I found myself getting lost in deep thought to compensate for the mission melodies in my life. This led my mind down some strange paths. What if limos had bathtubs in them? Do bugs feel emotions? Unfortunately, the internet wasn’t there to give me answers I needed for all the bizarre questions going through my head. I wished my brain had Wi-Fi at that moment.

12:00PM — Doubt

It was around the time I broke for lunch where I started thinking about technology. It had already been 3 hours and I hadn’t checked my e-mail, social media, or the news. What if I was missing something important? What if someone was trying to contact me and I couldn’t respond? The worry started to set as I started to fixate on using technology again. Knowing this wasn’t a good sign, I quickly prepared myself some lunch so I could eat away the worry. Thankfully the leftover spaghetti was enough to tide me over – had it been anything less tasty I probably would’ve cracked. As I indulged in some day-old dining, I began to think about why I was worrying so much. There’s so much that we’re reliant on technology for these days, from e-mails to assignments. Would we be so dependent on tech if there were better alternatives to it? After all, the only reason people do things electronically is because its more efficient. Even then, is being able to constantly message people instead of spoken communication really that important? I ran out of spaghetti before I could dive any deeper, and with my plate clean decided to find something else to do.

1:00PM — Adaptation

I had finally caught up with all my chores and became lost on what to do next. I couldn’t work on homework since it needed to be done on a computer (what a shame!) and couldn’t play video games since they are technology on their own. Now what? Am I now truly destined to die of boredom? I could always start writing my obituary if that’s the case. By a stroke of luck, I looked down on the floor to see some controller parts I had ordered a month ago that I had apparently forgot about. With newfound purpose, I decided to go work on repairing some broken controllers. I felt that my worry about living without internet technology was beginning to fade. Maybe finding things to do that don’t require internet isn’t that hard after all. Luckily my controllers were pretty darned broken, so it kept me busy for the entirety of the hour.

2:00PM — Flourishing

After fixing the controllers, there was roughly an hour left to go. Compared to the first hour where I found myself struggling to survive, I was revved up and excited to do to all the things I didn’t have time for when occupied with technology. I could tidy up the house more, sketch some art, cook an early dinner, or even sleep! The possibilities seemed endless. I enjoyed keeping busy during that final hour, and once it was over, I found myself wishing I could go tech-free for longer. With that said, once 3:00pm hit I picked up my phone and immediately hit social media to see what I missed. However, it felt different. I wasn’t checking it because I felt obliged to, as if it was part of a habitual routine that I had no hopes of breaking. I did so because I wanted to check up on and see what the day’s events were, knowing that the day would go on even if I didn’t.

I felt a strong sense of independence by realizing that it’s not that difficult to live without technology. That’s not to say we can truly live without it, though – things like e-mails, photos, and more are much more easily communicated via the internet and are much more efficient. Though, like all good things, it’s important to use it in moderation and to make sure it doesn’t consume your life. Remember to be human!

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