I started writing in the absence of internet in my Belfast home, but I have been online over the weekend thankfully. A week is too long. If Evil from Time Bandits was around today, perhaps he would not sought to have an understanding of computers, but rather the internet. That is how he would remain relevant and supplant the Supreme Being. And how very reliant on the internet we have become. In the days of dial up I had no problem finding things to pass the time, whether it was reading a good book, or dismantling a good dishwasher. I did not feel compelled to check my emails every few minutes, or see what was happening on social media sites. I only checked my emails when I knew someone was sending me something, or to verify an account for another website. It has become such a large part of my life, invading every waking hour, changing some things for the better, and some for the worse. Parallel to the rise of the internet, mobile phones have worked their way into almost every pocket, ensuring we are contactable 24/7. There is no excuse for being unable to contact someone now – we text them, and maybe message them on Facebook. This could be followed up by WhatsApp or Hangouts, and maybe a Skype message. Calling is a last resort in many a case, even though it can clear up a matter almost instantaneously compared to other communication modalities. I actively search for email contact details rather than a telephone number if I am contacting them for the first time, even though a phone call ends up causing less hassle in the long run. There have been occasions, not uncommonly, where I have been sitting at a table with six or seven of my colleagues, and rather than having a discussion we were all in another world talking to somebody else, who was probably sitting at a table with their colleagues all doing the same. We spend most of our time talking with people geographically removed from ourselves, while using our phones to avoid a conversation with the real live person next to us. Phones have become a social crutch, and we feel hopeless without them. What if someone wants to get hold of us and cannot reach us? So what? Perhaps we should become better planners, and not rely on constant updates from those we are meeting up with. This isn’t even what I wanted to talk about but as soon as I got started, I couldn’t stop.
I’m not sure what I was going to talk about. Probably another rant on estate agents and house viewings, but much of the stress of the week was alleviated on Friday. After a lot of hassle and endless applications forms and international organisation, we were successful in our housing hunt – we got an apartment in Bass Buildings near Belfast city centre. House viewings become old very quickly, particularly when the places available are soul-destroyingly terrible. Cookers that were bad in the 70s. Tiny rooms that don’t cater for humans with possessions. Ridiculously expensive places in inconvenient locations. There were few tolerable places, and even fewer perfect ones that were available in August. The search is over!
I wanted to talk about the Binding of Isaac and Psychonauts, but I’ve run out of time for now. All I’ll say about Isaac, is that it is both great fun and frustrating as hell. It’ll have you throwing your laptop at the wall and jumping up on top of it in no time. Just before you start another game.