Is there anything more frustrating than a faulty wi-fi connection? Surely not. Even the prisoners in solitary confinement stare at three little bars less than I do when I’m trying to get mine working. It’s hardly an advancement in society; it’s the technological equivalent of taking two steps forward and fifty steps backwards. Like inventing the wheel and deciding it would look much better if you squared-off the edges. Nothing is as dull as waiting for it to right itself – it’s the most impressive form of torture there is. If you were extracting information from the enemy; you’d better forcing them to try and keep a secure broadband connection to Virgin Media, than you would be using water boarding. No other activity brings about the same desire to self-harm as much as this.
And why is it that when you urgently need to ‘log on’ – to send an important email or find the name of that actor with the moustache in Midsummer Murders – that it then decides to be even more temperamental than usual? Having a wireless connection is like have a petulant child; only, it’s a child that somehow has access to all the information you could ever want in the world, ever. And won’t give it to you until you work out why it’s sulking.
One of the most annoying things is that, when you’re working; there is no greater distraction than the internet. You can while away whole days looking at YouTube videos of cats performing the Macarena, or spying on distant relatives through Facebook and passing judgement on a wedding you weren’t invited to. Before you know it; more than a week has gone by and you have nothing to show for it except a couple of Amazon purchases and a few dubious Wikipedia facts about Louis XIV. It’s a wonder Julian Assange leaked anything at all, I’d have spent too much time watching auctions on eBay; never plucking up the courage to bid on them, myself. All these distractions, all this information that, moments before you’d switched on your computer; you had no desire to know, suddenly become more important than sorting your online banking or finishing that piece of work before the deadline. And yet; when your wi-fi signal breaks, nothing takes up more of your time than trying to fix it. Now, that may only amount to pressing ‘repair’ every few minutes, but suddenly you are unable to think of anything else. Any capacity for thought becomes impossible until you can sort it out, even if the one thing you’ll do once it’s sorted, is force yourself to avoid the internet.
So that’s what I’ve been doing whilst writing this piece – opening ‘My Network Connections’ and staring at the blank screen. I have re-clicked, re-wired and re-shaken everything and I still can’t get a response. It’s like watching the two leads from Kramer vs. Kramer try and make amends. It isn’t going to happen. Much like a scab, if you leave it alone; it will eventually sort itself out. And so, devoid of distraction, I have no choice but to do some work. Curse you Richard Branson!
From 17th October, 2012