As the hammering rain locked us indoors in the awful night, the rumble of thunder became a continuous roar. Lightning flashes projected spooky shadows and homo sapiens cowered under its summer quilts, trying to recall forgotten gods.
But even the apocalypse passes. As birds woke tired men and women, I sleepwalked down to the fuse box to re-introduce modern society to my house. All was well.
No, there was something missing. Somewhere in subconscious I knew that a little green light was absent. OMG! The internet is down!
I’ll skip the domestic scene of teenagers freaking out over the loss of 9Gag, Whatsapp and Instagram, or the visiting mother in law over being cut off from the world as our phone was dead as well. In fact, I will skip the part where I couldn’t call the phone company for obvious reasons. Instead would I like to remind you briefly of that time when a single household phone was attached to the wall and you went to the library once a week to get something to read.
Back to Homo Predigitalis
My poor children have never known this species of man and although I have attempted to described him, they have long ago established that I am prehistoric myself and hardly a suitable source of information for modern life. But revenge is sweet.
Initially they reacted as usual: this is a temporary outage; let’s go back to bed. That couldn’t last, but the outage did. As did the outrage. My daughter turned to drawing and wasn’t too put out. My son however started roaming the house like a caged tiger. I could see that he was searching: is there a world out there?
Then the incredible happened. He went outside! Aside from the school commutes, he lives like a vampire in that he avoids daylight. He also dresses in black and although I haven’t had complaints from parents of young maidens about him sinking his teeth in their sweet necks, I wouldn’t put it past him. But in this moment of existential crisis, he emerged. Squinting in the glorious day light, he surveyed the garden and discovered a trampoline. Who on earth put THAT in our garden, he must have thought as he jumped higher and higher.
In the space of 24 hours my son became a Homo Predigitalis. I could have cried with joy and to make sure the moment lasted, I decided not to fix the internet breakdown for as long as I could get away with it.
Drying my eyes, I sat down behind my laptop and joyfully wrote a post.
Never mind, I will post it later. Time is a pretty good editor and it would do no harm. Let’s do some work. I had been working on a Powerpoint and realised that working from home, I couldn’t get the latest version from my colleague. Hmm. I’d better go to the office tomorrow.
Homo Predigitalis vs Telecommuting: 1 – nil.
I am also working on some new software. I love writing code and with joy I opened up the programming tool and began coding. But not for long. In the good old days of Predigitalis, I had a two meter tall metal book case that was filled with reference manuals. There would also be a few on my desk and as I wrote computer programs, I’d consult the manuals for details on that particular programming language. Since then, all these manuals have been discarded and they are available on the web in a beautiful searchable format. In fact, since the web has become a 24/7 mobile feature, we have lost all incentive to learn facts by hard. I can tell you the precise dates of the Battle of Hastings within 1 second. Except when the internet gives out. Homo Digitalis is a pretty dumb animal compared to Homo Predigitalis.
I did go to the office the next day and decided that Homo Predigitalis went the way of my hair a long time ago. And with a feeling of sadness I called the telephone company who promised to send a technician after the weekend. So we got a few days respite. The technician was of the same era as myself and we swapped Predigitalis war stories while he fixed the connection. As he switched the power on, the modern world came flooding back into my life. A mixed blessing, at best.