My ‘love affair’ with the internet has not always been so rosy. Long before the internet was any fun, it was obligatory at university to do 50% of your French research on the internet, so naturally as the internet was linked with doing some work, I hated it.
This was in the days when the internet was sooooo slow, and we were constantly being told that we had to ‘be careful not to log on when Americans might be on it’. Me and my friend pouted and bitched and screamed at how UNFAIR it was and would trudge to the internet room which was full of spectacle-wearers (I didn’t wear them in those days, so it was so uncool…shallow? Yep, that’ll be me!). As we half-heartedly searched for information on the French electoral system (excellent sexual turn-on material for those who get their kicks from wading through the squillions of political parties that France seems to enjoy), we decided the internet was crap. This continued until one day we accidentally ended up talking to some people in LA about how we were actually very famous TV stars in the UK.
In the years since then, the internet has changed a lot. Having been spoiled by having free access at uni, I’m almost certain that a better class of degree would have been in the offing if I hadn’t spent my days putting people I knew on interactive dating pages (grossly exaggerating their vital statistics, careers and/or looks) and doing my shopping. Hotmail suddenly became indispensable as I frantically e-mailed people who I hadn’t seen for ages and if I met them on the street, I probably wouldn’t be able to string two sentences together.
After I graduated there was this gaping void in my life…No, not my brain – lack of internet access. During a particularly stressful couple of weeks on the dole in Dundee (there is no experience like it, it certainly made a man of me) I would go to the library and pay an extortionate price for 20 minutes of frantically trying to reply to the 150 e mails waiting for me before the time ran out and the schoolmarm librarian would come and kick me off. I remember one time this bloke was looking for hard-core porn on the net and the librarian told him he was a ‘disgrace’. Sheer brilliance.
After I moved to Edinburgh, I had a job where the internet was not available, so I used to go to an internet café that was attached to a very well known coffee shop chain. I’d never done this sort of thing before. I thought internet cafés were full of swish cyber-types and trendy babes. No, no, no. It was full of backpackers and old people who kept asking the ‘youth’ on the help desk what ‘log-on’ meant. It was also extremely expensive and cramped and people kept spilling tall skinny lattes everywhere. Well, a couple of months of this were enough for me and just as I was thinking it was back to pen and paper, I got a job (my current one) where there was internet access. At last…
Maybe I overdid it a bit at first. No, I definitely did. Also, the fact that I simply minimised the internet rather than switching it off, or walked off and forgot it was on probably contributed to the fact that I, along with the rest of the company (sorry everybody), no longer have access to a certain website. Hotmail is also off limits because of all the virus-encrusted porn that people used to download from it.
So I was back to square one…
To be continued