I created the #565ClimateChange Challenge fully intending to spend a week without electric lights and internet. Here is a post I wrote earlier:
A Week Without Internet and Electric Lights
Alexander Gordon Jahans
2 days in and my first instinct is to get an early night, the lack of internet and light leading to a perception that the day is done and I've got jack shit to do, a perception not helped by the fact that my headphones recently broke and I don't want to keep people awake at night. It enforces s behavioural curfew, meaning that I can't listen to audiobooks, I can't watch youtube videos and I can't read cracked articles or trawl facebook. I feel like my ability to use my computer is completely shot. So sleep is the answer.
To counteract against this call for an early night is that on Thursday I am running a D&D session so I need to be fresh for 7pm-to 11pm, plus I am a night owl and screwing up my sleeping pattern by going to bed early would just mean being wired at a time when all I can really do is read.
The next thing I notice is that going to the loo in the dark is terrifying. I mean I am a guy with glasses and nightmares I have been preparing myself for the possibility of going blind or waking up to find my room or the house in darkness. I can feel my way along the halls and navigate the stairs without seeing, even if I still feel a little fear alone in the dark, especially when heading back into the light but in the bathroom? I have never had reason to memorise that shit. Part of me thinks I should now.
Finally there are certain quality of life changes with the lack of internet. See I am autistic, I'm no good socialising instinctually, I have to know this shit like I know Doctor Who or a well read book, which means like anything you know consciously it can slide if you're too stressed or too tired or the cues that are supposed to jog your memory aren't clear so I don't use the phone and a lot of my socialising is done online, through the medium of text. Not having facebook or gmail open makes me feel anxious and alone because in a very real way I am. If the internet shut off tomorrow, well I wouldn't notice I guess but after the week was up I would, I would freak. All my friends gone in an instant because this imaginary construct of electricity no longer functions.
Next there's the entertainment angle. I don't watch tv any more, I don't read books. I watch let'splays and I listen to podcasts. That is my life now. It feels empty without them. TV is too high maintenance let's plays are just chill. With the podcasts though because they are so long I usually get them though Itunes and download them so I have an extensive back catalog of podcasts, that isn't so bad. Youtube though is like how TV used to be. Sure you can pause it and open it in a new tab to watch later but you have to get it while it's on your feed before the next load of shit shovels it away and even if you have a tab, that shit is streamed. Itunes will just download everything and delete after you've watched. Youtube downloads nothing for fear of the copyright gods. A service by the way that protects nobody, if you want to pirate you will find a way. So I have no youtube stash to go over. Kind of a shame.
The streaming phenomenon also affects games. I mean games basically need to be installed on the host hard drive to be played and I have a tiny amount of space in that left so I like that Steam keeps all them games on their servers for me to download onto any computer but right now I got what I installed and that's it.
I am also out of the loop with regards to news because I get everything through the internet. This adds to the feeling of isolation.
The one good thing is that I have the kindle app on my computer so I've been reading, about the only time this is useful but still.
Oh and I watched the Wire series 1, it is awesome. I feel like jack shit happened and it is slow as shit but it was fun and smart. Plus Omar is awesome.
Truth is I already cheated a little, keeping gmail open to keep track of meetups and important correspondents, not trying to shit in the dark, I had already failed before I began, I just intended to not tell you and call victory because I'm petty and climate change is a big fucking deal.
This is why I caved though, not pissing in the dark, not making a sandwich in fridge light alone, not actually reading ebooks out of boredom. I have to fail my goddamned #565ClimateChange challenge, potentially damning thew world, because my entire social life is online and my attempt at getting a social life offline tonight only served to remind me how fucked I am without the internet and as I sat listening to a podcast on innovative ways to open a game of D&D out of boredom I felt the need to cry out "Friends! I miss you! Let's get a game together! 4e or Pathfinder, I don't care, let's just roll some dice!"
For what it's worth, my pathetic cry for discounted I can tell you how the next 3 days would have passed.
Daytime: Watch The Wire or Buffy
Night Time: Listen to podcasts while playing minecraft, skyrim or solitaire.
I am very boring.
What I have learned from this very minor sacrifice though is HOLY SHIT WE NEED TO SOLVE CLIMATE CHANGE FAST, I WILL NOT SURVIVE THE POST-2C WORLD!!!