14 April 2008

Nothing To Say

The internet is supposed to be back up here, but I'm not confident on anything. Does it matter? Probably not in some cosmic sense, but as far as my personal space is concerned, yes. I like to think that I can communicate whatever thought flits through my brain at any hour of the day or night--it didn't used to be that way, but now I'm used to it, and I want to keep it. Blogging on my laptop is amazing--news from all over the world at my fingertips, and I can join it at any moment and in theory at least be read by anybody else who is connected with this nebulous thing we call the internet. It's like the old ham radio universe, except that people talk about anything and everything, and not just their rig. It's the bulletin-board of the global village, and it's downright amazing--but I'm used to it now, and it's just a goddamn annoyance when I can't get on it.

Earlier today I needed to check a reference in a nearly-century-old book. I actually own a copy of it, and for once it isn't packed away in storage somewhere but is right on my shelves in the library upstairs where I can get at it. But I was comfortable on the davenport where I was, and I was working on my laptop, so I quickly went to Google Books, invoked the book genii, and in seconds had my reference. All I had to do was send out a request to a machine hundreds of miles away, have it look up the book for me, and receive digital copies of the pages I needed right on the screen in front of me. Infinitely simpler than getting up, walking upstairs, pulling the book off the shelf, and physically finding the passage. Something doesn't seem right about that, but that was the way of it, for all that.

Do I have a point? Not really. It's good to be back online, but my connection with the outer world feels increasingly perilous, and it worries me.

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