My WIFI Free Life

Three weeks ago, I was laying on my carpet watching Netflix, when I became quite thirsty. I didn’t want to go all the way downstairs to find my water bottle though. So I grabbed my empty tea mug and filled it up in the bathroom sink.

That was my first mistake.

My second, was setting the mug down near my computer. This became problematic twenty minutes later when I tried to scratch an itch and bumped the mug. The next thing I knew: Two ounces of water had spilled all over my Macbook Air.

I blinked a few times, strangely calm. I didn’t actually believe I’d just done that. But my eyes widened as I realized: “oh my gosh! I just did that.” I grabbed a clean sweatshirt and started soaking up the water. I tilted it upside down in a V shape and watched the liquid drip from its innards.

And then I waited.

Google told me to prop it upside down next to a fan, and wait three days. Apparently, that’s how long it takes to dry out a computer. Only then would I know if it had survived or was destined for the junkyard. I’d foolishly tried to power it on already, and it hadn’t worked. Nevertheless, I was optimistic.  I’d been seeking to develop my prayer life. This was a chance to pray boldly and trust God.

But that didn’t reconcile with what I heard from Ashley. Backlit by the glow of an effervescent giant Apple, Ashley grimaced. “Oh that’s not good,” she said as she read the diagnostic report. “Oh that’s definitely not good.” She squinted at my blackened computer screen—a depressing result of theh Mugcident.

“Yeah, so you basically killed the brain of your computer,” Ashley said after a minute. “We can send it to our repair lab for $450 and they’ll fix it right up. If they find water damage though, it’ll be $700.”

“IF” they find water damage?

“So, you’re saying it’s going to be $700 to fix my computer?” I asked, trying not to cry.

Ashley gave the Macbook another glance. “Yeah, probably.”

The computer was already five years old, so I vetoed that idea and walked away, sadder than anyone should ever be leaving an Apple store.

I prayed God would cover my mistake, make it possible for me to buy a new computer, even with my tight budget. Two days later, I discovered my childhood savings bonds, which my dad reminded me were of significant value. That’s how I found myself at Best Buy on New Year’s Eve.

My budget was not Macbook-material, so I steered clear of Apple section. I was surprised to find an awesome PC that I really liked. Better yet: There was a steep discount on it. I thanked God profusely and decided to try out a Windows Surface laptop.

After four days of having no computer, I was grateful to be able to write and surf the internet again. During, my digital detox, I’d become convinced God wanted me to take a step back from the internet and clear my life of its distractions.

I spoke fondly of those computer-free days. “It was a sweet, sweet time,” I said to my parents. And it was…. somewhat. But I mainly said so because it seemed like the proper Christian thing, and I’m all about being the proper Christian.

I’ve never been addicted to social media or electronics, but I was thrilled to have my digital life restored. The rest of the evening, I tinkered with my new computer; relayed my thanks to the Big Guy; and went to bed.

With that mess behind me, I drove back to Indianapolis and focused on my upcoming move. I packed up my things, set up the WIFI installation, and said goodbye to the old place.

But after two days of no WIFI, I got very impatient. I figured it was a smart idea to call AT&T and ask about moving the appointment up—in case someone had cancelled theirs or something. They were able to bump it up by two days. Perfect. The only hitch was that I hadn’t actually figured out who could come to the apartment for the install, since my housemate and I were both working during the day.

“God will come through,” I said. But then I got anxious because we couldn’t find anyone. So, I called AT&T again and said we needed to find an evening appointment. That’s when I was informed that they couldn’t find the appointment I was referencing, but they would happily set one up for the following week.

At that point, I was livid. “Fine,” I said. “Just get us the internet as soon as possible.

I sorted the details out, downloaded some eBooks and Netflix shows, and settled in for a week without internet.

Thursday came, and I leapt out of bed. “It’s WIFI day,” I said to the happy face in the mirror.

This time, I had actually enjoyed the time off-grid. I’d legitimately spent more time with God, and I felt less anxious than I did with the constant status updates and health articles that rolled across my screen.

I thought I’d learned a valuable lesson. At the same time, I was ready for connectivity again. I was tired of my unanswered Google queries and Facebook notifications. But I did pray that God would help me practice self-control as I regained these once-dominant parts of my life.

No sooner had I said “amen,” did I get a phone call from my housemate, Chrissy.

“They can’t install it,” she said. “Something about the wiring in the building.”

“No,” I said to God. “NO NO NO NO NO!”

My relaxing evening of “When Calls the Heart” died a quick death.

One phone call later, I learned there’s only one company able to install internet in our building. Incidentally, it wasn’t the same company that had promised us a quick and speedy installation the week before. I used the last bit of data I’d been conserving and looked up Spectrum’s number. I was a (distraught) woman on a mission.

Don from Spectrum was super helpful. He’d lived in Indianapolis for a time, and enjoyed playing video games. He set up for an appointment for me at 4 p.m. on January 15.

“That’s perfect,” I told him. “My housemate and I were hoping for something on the weekend, since we work.”

“Right-o.” he said.

After five minutes of discussing the traffic on Meridian Street, Don and I parted ways and I texted Chrissy an update.

Three more days without WIFI. It was doable. I had breezed through two books already, but my affinity for reading leaves me with plenty of choices on the bookshelf. So I vowed to get through another before Sunday.

I did heed Don’s advice though, and called Spectrum again, this morning, inquiring about an earlier installation appointment.

“Certainly. Can you provide me another address,” the customer service rep said. She didn’t tell me her name.

“This is my address,” I tried to explain. “There won’t be another one on file.” She wanted my old address anyway.

Once she’d typed that in her computer, she said “thank you for that information” and the line went dead as she checked her records. Apparently, my cordial convo with Don had been fruitless. Customer Service Rep couldn’t find my appointment. Anywhere.

“But I have the email that says I have an appointment on Sunday, and a backup appointment on Monday,” I reiterated. “Don told me that you guys ask customers to make two appointments, just in case there’s an installation issue. But most people cancel the second so there are always openings. That’s what Don said!”

Customer Service Rep didn’t care what Don said.

“Thank you for that information,” she answered. “Let me check my records.”

As she did, I heard laughing in the background and I died a little inside.

The rest of the phone call was no better. Customer Service Rep scheduled me an appointment for Monday and told me to have a nice day.

“Goodbye,” I spit out.

I would normally say: “Thanks! You too!”

But I didn’t. I pressed “End Call” and I began to cry.

I cried about the people laughing on the phone and how they were oblivious to my WIFI hell.

Mostly though, I cried about being an adult. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my month of post-graduate life, it’s that adulthood is very rewarding, but downright difficult.

The 15-minute phone call with Customer Service Rep was the final straw. My heart was overwhelmed with inadequacy.

“God,” I whispered. “I can’t do this.”

I laid down on the floor—wooden this time, which is not nearly as comfortable—and I let myself go.

I cried a bit and smacked the floor a few times. Then I pulled out my computer. And that’s where I am now. I’m lying on my floor, trying to convey to the world my woeful story of failed adulting.

But you know what? I feel God’s arms around me. I feel them more than I did a week ago—when I was caught up in my little online world. I feel a quiet peace that is louder than the worry. The stressors can keep piling on, my God tells me it’s going to be okay. He is holding me. And that’s something I didn’t understand as deeply, this time last week.

Busting your computer and going off-grid for a week isn’t a foolproof plan, mind you. I’m still desperately impatient and want WIFI. I download news articles to read in the evenings. I just wasted twenty minutes playing Bejewled Blitz because it doesn’t require internet and seemed more enticing than my Bible.

That’s reality.

Reality is that I’m a work in progress. A daughter of Christ who has been hiding behind “okayness” for a long time. Like I said, I’m not one of those people who pulls out their phone every minute. I’m not on social media a lot. And yet. Once I entered the silence of an internet-free life, I felt the piercing ache of my own loneliness. I wasn’t okay.

But I didn’t need to check my email or read a status update. I needed Jesus. Plain and simple, pre-Instagram Jesus. He’s all we truly need, friends. And we can hide behind the glamourous distractions of this world, but only for so long. I’m so grateful God has given me that nugget of wisdom the past few weeks.

I don’t have WIFI, but man: I’ve got the Lord Jesus Christ. And I’m experiencing that at a whole new level.

Love,

Hannah

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6 thoughts on “My WIFI Free Life

  1. It sounds like you have learned some vital yet challenging life lessons about both technology AND theology. May God continue to bless you — WIFI or no-WIFI.

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    1. Indeed! Thank you, and may God continue to bless you as well!

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  2. Hang in there, Hannah! Maybe another silver lining is the free wifi places you’ve discovered – the library, anywhere else?
    -Anne

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    1. Exactly! It’s actually been pretty nice to just unplug in the evenings. It’s also forced me to talk to people more- calling friends or just hanging with my housemate. There are some definite silver linings! 🙂

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  3. I think we’re probably all a lot more internet & social media dependent than we are willing to admit. A friend has an app that tracks how much time you spend on your phone, broken down by app. She said, as someone who thought she “wasn’t that bad,” the results were absolutely horrifying and prompted her to severely restrict her phone and internet use. I don’t even want to know what my usage looks like……….

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