“Patience, young grasshopper,” I said to myself after Kyle had kindly connected me to the Internet on the snazzy orange iBook via dial up. Yes, dial up. Unlike Will the week before, who seemed to embrace the slower access (Will, correct me if I’m wrong), I struggled with the snail-like speed. Usually, if a page is taking longer than 10 seconds to load, I’ll temporarily take my attention elsewhere by visiting another website or taking out my smartphone. Sometimes, I’ll just abandon ship altogether. However, whilst waiting for the first page to load, I purposefully resisted the temptation to do so. Instead, I just watched the little black and white wheel spin, my idle thoughts only interrupted by the iBook’s occasional chirping. Sidenote: If I’m being honest, I only intentionally refrained from browsing the web via my smartphone – I knew from the hours I spent as an adolescent in front of the computer that it was pointless to attempt opening a second browser window on the iBook with its 56K connection.
My experience with dial up – it really wasn’t the iBook’s fault – was frustrating and fruitless. I realised I had become the product of a society that wants what they want when they want it (say that 5 times quickly). With lightning fast connection speeds and multiple means of access, when we access the internet we expect to come away with something. That ‘something’ could be mountains of new knowledge gleaned from an hour of successful research. It could be a new trivia tidbit brought to you courtesy of Reddit, Buzzfeed, or Cracked.com. It could be the news that your high school classmate is pregnant with her second child, gossip acquired after hours wasted refreshing newsfeeds and stalking acquaintances (we all do it, don’t judge). We have become conditioned to expect information to be delivered to us with near immediacy. Regardless of the nature of the information we seek, we simply do not wish to wait any longer than we have to.
After 15 almost painful minutes, after two websites failed to load within an agreeable amount of time, and after one successfully accessed website refused to take me to my desired page chosen from the available links, I gave up. I disconnected, shut down, and went to play video games instead.