Sloane Crosley: 'I’ve had internet access at home for one month. No need to check your watches. This is 2010'

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The Independent Online

Referring to myself as "a bit of a Luddite", I realise, is like calling myself a bit of a drug addict. Or a bit of a warmonger. Or a bit of a Cher fan. You're either in or you're out. But it's hard to reconcile my newfound access to the internet. No need to check your watches. This is 2010. Yet, so long as I had a day job, I had no discernible need to access the internet from my home.

More or less everyone on the planet is familiar with the perils of the internet and its wily attention-span-shortening ways. But as a human who has been self-sealed in a kind of mental Tupperware for the past decade, I will tell you the effects are more complicated than the atrophying minds of our youth. Let the children surf. But as someone of a slightly older generation, my love/hate relationship with 24-hour access to the web is strangely fresh.

For years, I would print out directions and party invites before leaving the office. I never once got an address wrong. I always knew whose birthday it was and when the festivities began. I was the last person in America under 50 still dialling 411 for restaurant numbers and store hours and so found myself having to be excessively patient and well-pronounced at least three times a week. I never travelled with a laptop and thus never held up airport security queues by forgetting I had it on my person. I responded to e-mails in a timely fashion because I had no choice. It was either that, or stay in the office and be serenaded by the dulcet sounds of industrial carpet vacuums.

But now? Now I am well on my way to becoming an impatient, irresponsible, bad friend who will "figure out if it's BYOB later". I have the social safety net of home access to the world. It's been one month. One month since a man came to my apartment and installed the box that will erode my humanity as I know it. After he left, I was so paralysed with the promise of unnecessary information, the first thing I did was look up the weather. Information which, of course, could have been mine by just opening the window and sticking my hand outside.

Sloane Crosley is the author of 'I Was Told There'd Be Cake' (Portobello Books)