Bob's Cold Turkey

18th October 2005

They say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. When it comes to computers and IT it's doubly true. A couple of weeks back I was experiencing something of a technical hitch when my laptop wouldn’t connect to my wireless router. Having been through my usual checklist of fixing a computer problem (reboot computer, unplug and blow on the offending lead or item of hardware followed quickly by giving up) without any joy I decided to have a close look at the router.

Hiding away at the back of it I noticed a little ‘reset’ button. You could almost see the cartoon light bulb that illuminated above my head. I quickly unplugged it and found a chewed biro. Holding the reset button in for 30 seconds to be on the safe side I was sure everything would be fine. On rebooting the damned machine it seemed my optimism was misplaced. It was time for desperate measures.

Our resident IT geek (I hate to use the word "geek" but unfortunately it goes together with IT, in my experience, like me and Bud) was on holiday for a week. The only way I could avoid a week devoid of cyberspace was to ring the young lady who’d installed the router and wireless card for me. As anyone who needs a favour from an Ex will know it's particularly galling. There was nothing for it…I was going to have to summon all my inner strength and spend a week offline.

The first thing I noticed was that without the internet the computer was left to gather dust. Within a couple of days it had been consigned to the darkness under the stairs where it reproached me every time I went to get a coat like a puppy that’s been left on the side of the road after Christmas and doesn’t quite know what it’s done wrong. The second thing I noticed was that I felt at a complete loss when I got home from work. The happy hour and a half I usually spend drinking tea and smoking fags whilst browsing the web and chatting on MSN when I walk in through the door was now a void.

However, just like the first three days of trying to give up smoking are the worst, half way through the week I found I was actually quite enjoying getting things done around the house, watching the television rather than having it on in the background and discovering there is life after Halo 2 and Xbox Live. It was like someone had given me an extra two or three hours a day to spend doing something worthwhile (Okay, I wasn’t working in a soup kitchen but my washing up got done).

Now the IT man has returned and walked me through fixing the computer and I’m back online. So am I gonna revel in my new found extra time? As Joey once said in Friends “Does a blind man who regains his sight walk around with his eyes shut waving a white stick in front him?”