I've got internet! Wheeeee! No this isn't some kind of alternate reality timey-wimey situation of me having turned into the sort of person who points at the sky when a plane goes overhead (mind you, did a fair bit of that when Trainboy was little and obsessed with helicopters). Basically, due to no money, we have had No Internet for over a week. And it was horrible.
Now I'm quite old. I spent my teens and my twenties in a world where they Hadn't Invented the Internet, and I didn't die or anything. There were books. There was going to one club and picking up a load of flyers at the end of the night inviting you to other clubs of a similar nature. There was the phone to huddle over for hours wittering aimlessly at my friends with only periodic interruptions from one or other parent reminding me that they might want to use the phone as well. There was keeping a diary and pretending to be reluctant to let other people read it.
But these days, having No Internet is miserable, alienating, almost crippling. You don't know what anyone else is doing, even if they mean to tell you, because you can't get at your email, or your Facebook. You haven't got an almost-instant answer to any weird question your offspring hurl at you. You can't work out the way to get from one side of London to the other on buses (because you can't afford to go by train) without roaming round every suburb you ever heard of.
Thank fuck for internet cafes. Particularly the cheap rubbish one up the road, who see me stumble through the doors and whip out the portable disc thingy all ready for me, now that they have had a week of me whining that none of their in-situ disc drivers work.
Mind you, internet cafes are getting... well, does anyone remember when they were really EXCITING? And you could get cappucinos and cupcakes and even a beer or two while you logged onto Usenet or sent a tentative E-Mail to a friend on the other side of the world? These days you have to step over the pitbulls to get to a terminal,and generally sit between someone negotiating the full horror of an online loan company's interest rate or someone trying to word a drug-selling ad that won't get them chucked off Ebay.