Power or the Internet? · 18 January 2020

Visualization of Internet routing paths
(original size: 1024×1024)
by The Opte Project
Licensed under CC BY 2.5

If you had to choose, would you choose to have power or the internet?

(In case you were wondering, we do have power and internet. Both went down for significant amounts of time during the latest winter storm. Thus the musing.)

It is funny. You can survive without power for quite some time. Maybe even a week or more. Even in the coldest of winter. Just hunker down by the fire and stay in the warmest room (the one with the fireplace). But it is much more difficult to survive without the internet. Minutes can go by and you feel like you are out of the loop.

I am not sure how we got to the place where we need to be connected to the rest of the world all the time. First it was 24-hour news channels. Now, it was social media. Whether the news is real or fake, national or local, public or personal, we need to be in the know. Or at least it seems so.

Personally, I just need to keep up with my word and chess games. I need to make sure that I do lose any of those games because I was disconnected from the real world for too long. But I do not know that I need to keep up on the latest happenings of the brightest or newest stars or teen idols. I can barely keep up with all my relatives and friends. As few as they might be. At the very least, I know what moves they just made in our word and chess games.

We have experienced being without power for a week or so. And we did just hunker down in the room with the gas fireplace. We were able to cook with our gas stove too. Life was cold in other parts of the house, but we survived. Even when the kids’ electronics ran out of power. We played games and read. And we went to sleep with the sun or stayed up with candles to light the way. It was like Little House on the Prairie or some such thing. (Our candles did not cast as much light as those on the TV show apparently did.)

But when the internet is down, power does not mean anything. The internet can be down for mere minutes and we think the world is ending. Woe is me! I cannot connect to Facebook or Reddit! How can I keep up?! How can I know what is going on in the world? It is the strangest thing.

I suppose it just goes to show our priorities and perspective. When our needs are being met, when we have food, clothing, and shelter, when we have lights and heat, our next biggest priority is the internet. Preferably fast internet.

Personally, if I had to choose between having power or the internet, I would choose power. As long as they fix the internet soon afterward.

© 2020 Michael T. Miyoshi

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