Faced with increasing numbers of articles in the press about the sad side-effects of addiction to Smartphones I thought it might give me a feeling of satisfaction to share some plus factors I have experienced after three and one half years of no broadband and no mobile signal at home.
In the interests of balance I have included some possible minuses. But all topics hopefully build a picture of my new, calm life. I suspect that I may even now qualify as a lifestyle counsellor for tortured souls in rural areas who still consider themselves deprived and may be thinking of burning an OpenReach van on their annual bonfire.
What I can’t do anymore
I can’t get into a misjudged spat courtesy of a glass of wine and the late hour with some unfeeling online commentator from the other side of the world. My need to drive (or walk) a mile to the village hall to access the internet, or even ten miles to the home of another family member when the weather is particularly inclement has got shot of that pitfall. It’s amazing what you really didn’t need to say in the final reckoning. I am calm.
I don’t have to carry around a mobile phone and keep looking for politically interesting pictures of cats at all hours. As I no longer favour cats that’s a definite benefit. I also don’t have to realise that my close friends and family have turned into right wing extremists. I don’t think they have, but people do seem to retweet some extraordinary stuff these days. So all I have to deal with is what they, misguidedly or otherwise, tell me to my face. I am calm.
Sometimes I do wonder if I’m missing a diversity of opinion and temperament. In my internet connected past someone once kindly explained to me how to spot a Mossad operative on a Palestine support forum. This is now redundant information and my world view may be restricted as a result. But I am calmer. I can still turn on the television and listen to UK Parliament Live as a background accompaniment to life, spending a disproportionate time in the company of politicians. Ooh – someone’s just referred to middle aged swivel-eyed men. I wonder how I’d tell which ones they are. Be calm our representatives.
The greatest plus
But the greatest plus is that I no longer have any confidence in government broadband promises. This means I am never going to be disappointed again. Even Brexit holds no fears for me now. I am relieved of the need to attend the committee meetings/talking shops of the great and the good in the hope that my voice will make a difference. Despite my extensive vocabulary and willingness to place my head above the parapet it has not and it will not. I am even calmer.
It is some time since I gave up the belief that I am responsible for the leaves coming out on the trees in my garden, or making the sun shine in February. My internet and Smartphone deprivation has simply added to my ability to face the storms and hurricanes of everyday life with equanimity.
I thank you BT, Community Broadband Scotland (now deceased) and any future Scottish Government R100 plans for that. I am finally calm and not at all swivel-eyed.
Mary Williams Edgar – in the light of the full moon – Braes of Glenlivet – January 2018