Here’s the thing, adults love to remind us of their good old days and how we will never know the blessing of being tech free. However, what they fail to remember is that we too grew up without tech. At least my generation did. We had Sega but we also had playing under the sun. Regardless, my childhood was nothing like the one of my nieces and nephews. They will never know the sheer the fear of that dial-up connection sound. To this day I get goose bumps if I ever hear it.If you wanted to use that worldwide web, it needed to be through the devil’s ringtone. And you had to make sure that your parents never heard you calling him. Not that you would have hell to pay, but you just wanted to avoid the conversation and lecture that followed whenever you used it to play games. So, to control our internet usage, my parents would invest in those dial-up internet cards. They had an x amount of hours in them and that package was supposed to last you till the time you actually needed it, never mind the fact that your project wasn’t due till another two months. That package needed to survive till the end of the year. Let’s get real though, that never happened. Our parents should have anticipated that it would be a miracle if it even lasted till the end of the week.
Fast forward to the end of the week where you have finished your dial-up minutes and now must let your mother know. Or at least somehow sneak out the house without her knowing, run to the nearest store and buy an exact replica of that dial-up card without her ever realizing you were gone. Fat chance of that happening. So, instead of choosing either of the options, you went with the third option; don’t bother telling her and just live without that internet till your project rolled around, feign ignorance, and blame the card manufacturers for the faultiness when it wouldn’t work.
But, those dial-up connection days were scary. If you wanted the internet you had to somehow mute the dial-up tone that reverberated in the whole house, pray that your parents went deaf in the moment and pray again that no one needed to make a call till the next hour or so. Hey, this was a time before cell phones could be used as an alternative mode of communication. That landline relationship was still going strong at the time. Now, you try a bit every day to somehow keep the spark alive.
Still, nothing compared to when the telephone bill came rolling at the end of the every month and you were never the one first one to have a look at it and prepare yourself for jhar that would follow. I swear that dial-up connection really knew how to betray. If there was one thing that got my father going about that bill, it was international calls and internet usage; they might as well have been one entity. They fell under the same heading of, ‘why the hell is the bill so much?’ And the follow up threat of, ‘this is coming out of your pocket money.’
Well, thank God for wifi and thank God for our own parents’ dependency on it. They’re glued to their phones just as much as we are, if not more. How we survived the age of slow internet astounds me everyday.