Xeno Hemlock


#ThinkAboutIt - Are You Willing to Disconnect?

Yes, I'm guilty.

I'm guilty of calling the Internet service provider's hotline to yell profanities at the telephone agent, who I knew could do nothing beyond making reports, logging the details, and transferring calls, at the other end of the line.

I'm guilty of looking at my smartphone's screen every now and then, anticipating a like, a favourite, or a comment. 

I'm guilty of browsing a non-work related website during work hours, justifying the act by saying to myself that since others did it so could I.

I'm guilty of getting in the know and consuming life updates from my friends and family through the World Wide Web.

Yes. I admit it! I'm guilty...

...until that Friday night. I returned home from work late that evening, opened the lid of my MacBook Pro, and watched steadily the wi-fi icon at the upper-right part of the screen. Boom! Got it. Connected.

I refreshed one tab in my web browser. Safari Can't Open the Page.

I refreshed it again. Safari Can't Open the Page.

I opened a new tab and clicked the Facebook shortcut. Safari Can't Open the Page.

After that followed a set of repetitive tests. Press the Power button. Disconnect and reconnect the wi-fi. Restart the MacBook pro. Check the phone lines. Reset the wi-fi modem. Disconnect and reconnect the wi-fi again. They all resulted to the same thing. Safari Can't Open the Page.

I called the ISP's hotline, described the problem in my most innocent voice, diligently obeyed the instructions from the agent (even when I already did it multiple times prior to calling), made a frown that the agent could not see, and ended the call after hearing it would take 24 to 48 hours before it would come back. I put my phone down, disconnected and reconnected the wi-fi, and refreshed the tab one final time. 

Safari Can't Open the Page.

Alternatives ran through my head after that moment of realisation:

Go to Starbucks tomorrow and have non-fiction day there.

Write your drafts tomorrow and ignore the Internet (or the lack thereof).

Forget about writing and do something else.

Go to a nearer Starbucks tomorrow and have non-fiction day there.

Have a tantrum.


It was that slight turn of the head to the right that turned on the bulb. 

Books. Those physical books queued in my reading list. Why did I worry about the upcoming Internet-free weekend when my unfinished books were more than enough to keep me company? Worrying was silly (and the idea of having a tantrum too).

Saturday and Sunday went by and not a single second of boredom paid me a visit. I had a fantastic time with my books and also got to write new drafts for my non-fiction day too. It felt like reconnecting with some old people in our lives. I missed you. Did you miss me? I did. 

Somehow at some point in my life, I had it forgotten it's possible to do things without the Internet. When did that happen to me? I used to do things absolutely fine without the Internet and had great enjoyment from them. Nowadays, I carried the stupid mentality that life would suck with no Internet access as if it was an absolute thing but that was wrong.


Remember the visits to the beach when we didn't have to Instagram a photo to tell the world we're getting some sun.

Remember the times we watched old movies in the cinema with no electronic box to distract us yet.

Remember the homework and projects for school we did inside the library with a number of books scattered on the table because a speedy Google search was not yet known to mankind.

Remember the anticipation of seeing a friend and the excitement of finally being with them because that's the only way we could connect with them.

Remember writing love letters and journal entries in physical notebooks until our hands got tired holding the pen or got dirty if you're left-handed.


At some point in our lives we forgot how we used to do it all. 

I know the Internet is here to stay and I have no desire to be a grump who refuses to embrace the advancements of the world. But what if under some circumstance, these advancements are not available to us? Will our lives stop if that becomes the case? Will it be the end of the world? What's going to happen to us? Is it wrong to go back to how it was then? Can we even do it? Are we willing to disconnect?