Wednesday, October 7, 2009

So this is what withdrawal tastes like

Whenever AR or I get this message

it's like the king of our tiny island-state issued a tsunami warning or the president of our large continental democracy moved the terror color-code to infrared. Because wherever that signal is, Disaster -- or his clingy little sister, Paranoia -- isn't far behind. Bringing at best, stress, fraught nerves, restlessness, and in the worst case, evenings of reading paper books and playing bored games.

In such situations, which strike rarely thank God (and thanks to a pretty decent router), AR, the resident computer expert, barks rapid fire commands. I obey.

"Unplug the router."


"Wait 10 seconds."


"Now put it back."


Meanwhile, he's at mission command, typing frantic messages into his terminal.

Usually it takes 10 minutes to fix the problem and when it's over, we settle onto the futon, my head on his shoulder or our legs sandwiched on the coffee table, reading our preferred news outlets on neighboring laptops. Bliss.

Tonight, something went wildly wrong.

I got home after many productive hours at Peet's. I'd been tempted to blog, but I stopped myself. See, self control.

So there was nothing I wanted more when I walked in than to fire up my laptop and log into blogger. Instead, I got the dreaded message. I tried unplugging the router, tried doing the whole "ipconfig" routine AR showed me, and I swore a few times. Nothing seemed to help. Then AR walked in the door and a second after hello, I started. "The internet's not working."

"Oh my God! What will you do?"

"Come on, it's serious. I need it. For work."

"I'll take a look at it."

Instead, we had dinner. Rib eye and asparagus AR made. I skipped lunch today, so I tore into my steak. It was awesome. Momentarily, I forgot about the router.

We decided to go see a movie after dinner and headed to, and that's when I got the message again.

While AR was on his hands and needs knees tinkering with the router's wires, I was checking my pulse. It wasn't faster than usual. Strange, because I could feel my heart racing. Meanwhile, I was managing to connect sporadically to an unsecured Motorola network, but after about 30 seconds on any site it would spit me out. After about an hour, he fixed the problem. Temporarily, he said. Looks like our router is turning to mush.

I've been writing for the past fifteen minutes, but I'm still stressed. This isn't normal. This isn't how things should be. Normally, the internet works without a hiccup and AR and I worry about more interesting things, like which movie to see. But then normally, I don't blog about not being able to blog, I don't produce tortured puns (bored games? ouch) and above all I don't take my pulse unless it's medically necessary. I'm no hypo.

Behold your first sample of Roxana Popescu on internet withdrawal.

But there's a happy ending. After he reset the router, I renamed our connection to something warm and cuddly, which is how hugging my laptop makes me feel:

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