Grab a cuppa and a comfy seat, and let’s chat a while. It’s time for Coffee and Conversation.
When I was six, my family was driving on a highway late at night. Streaks of headlights and taillights painted the dark. For the first time, I realized that each car held people living lives as important to them as mine was to me.
I wanted to know what those lives were, and to share my own..
The last few days, I’ve been seeing this what-if meme about giving up wi-fi, Internet, and all such things for three months, in exchange for $3 million. Could I give up the internet? Sure. I lived most of my life without it, after all. Would I? For a huge sum of money? Nope. Why not?
Well, I just sent some cool video links to a homeschooling Mom in Alaska, from my home in New York, because a Facebook thread revealed her child might be interested in them. That thread also spurred another homeschooling mom in Oregon to send us a link in return, because she thought my daughter would like it. All the while, I’m able to research, read, and chat with other up-all-night writers (writing can be a lonely pastime!).
Knowledge and connection mean more to me than money does. That three months might not seem like much, but it represents connections and exchanges and learning, and time that can never be bought back at any price….
I originally posted this on my Facebook timeline, because it had been rolling around in my head for a day or two, and I was curious about what others thought. My husband, for instance, would happily surrender his wi-fi. His relationship with the internet, and computers in general, is, at best, contentious. He doesn’t like phones much, either, and the bulk of his social needs are met at home, work, or through occasional contact with his family of origin.
Most others, though, seemed to agree with me. That didn’t surprise me, even though I have an eclectic array of Facebook friends. Those I interact with most often all share the trait of being passionate, curious, and enjoying interaction with other people and diverse ideas.
One friend pointed out that I could, with three million dollars, hand-deliver a DVD of the program I linked to my Alaskan friend.
Of course, she’d have to wait three months to receive it, and, by that time, her son might have different passions. By sending the links via the internet, they were available to her son while he could appreciate them. I could, from thousands of miles away, and in the few minutes it took to find and share, nurture the creativity of a child I might never meet. There’s something in that that delights me. I did it sitting on my bed, in a short break from writing and blogging.
I did it without having to make any other arrangements, and without interrupting the flow of my friend’s life – she already has a schedule overflowing with things to do. If I showed up on her doorstep, things would shift to accommodate me. And my life, too, would need to be shifted to manage the trip – New York to Alaska is no small undertaking, no matter how much money one has. Things like children and spouses and Real Life can’t be worked around with dollar bills, even hundreds of them.
But the internet holds many other rewards.
I’m going to get to meet one of my internet friends in person.
This isn’t the first time, or even the tenth. Whenever I hear the argument that Facebook friends aren’t “real”, I think of the lovely group of people I knew first online, and who have become more – people I’ve hugged, cried and laughed and sang and been silly and sad with, whose children I’ve chatted with, who’ve stayed at my home, or whose homes we’ve visited.
And, in one month, I will meet another – August McLaughlin, creator of #girlboner, intrepid champion of bully dogs, healthy sexuality, body acceptance, and passion. August is lovely from the skin inward, and I’ve been admiring her since I participated in her first Beauty of a Woman Blogfest three years ago.
The internet brought August into my life. And it was the internet that told me she will be emceeing an event for World Sexual Health Day on September 4, in New York City. The internet will be integral to my planning to attend this event, and to meet my dear friend in person. The internet allowed me to express my trepidation – not at meeting August, but at the thought of navigating the huge city when I grew up next door to a farm field, and am a lot more comfortable with the wilds of nature than places where masses of people are gathered together.
In return for my honesty, I got concrete advice on transportation, lots of moral support, and a personal cheering section. I found out that I’m not alone in my fear of big cities, and I was inspired by others who are comfortable in them. I received an appreciative message from August herself.
It’s easier to face a fear that’s shared, and it can inspire a desire to share, help, or just commiserate.
Not only will my trip be a far less daunting matter, but I’ve also shared a human connection with several friends, scattered across the continent.
Give up the internet for money? No, thank you. I’ll keep the connection. fi I have a wealth of friends, learning, and connection there – and, to me, that’s worth far more!
How about you? Would you give up the internet for money? Would it be worth it to you? Would you miss it? What would you do, instead? I’ve got my laptop and I’m off to get a fresh cuppa- I’ll pour you one, too – and let’s converse!