Going Cold Turkey – But Now I Have a Smart Phone

Originally posted on August 31, 2010

For the last ten days or so I have had troubles with my Internet and for the last week I have had no connection at all.  Seems like it started with squirrels chewing on the telephone lines and now, after new lines have been installed, and after my fifth desperate call to my Internet provider, we still don’t know what is wrong.  One doesn’t realize when one has become addicted to something until you have to go without.  So I am now going cold turkey from Internet withdrawal.

If you are the kind of person who gets bent out of shape and really upset whenever there is an electricity blackout, or a water main breaks, or your satellite TV can’t find a signal, or your Internet goes down, or when you lose any of the 100 other things that a modern person has come to rely on, then maybe Thailand might not be the place for you.  Although Thailand has much more reliable services than before, stuff just happens here to remind you how close modern man is to reverting back to the Stone Age.  Thunderstorms cause the lights to go out, trees fall in front of your satellite dish, water buffalos wallow right on top of you water pipes, and squirrels chew on your Internet cables.  It’s just a fact of life.

Knowing that hasn’t made my going cold turkey any easier though.  With my regular Internet connection, living in Thailand is not really much different from living back in Seattle (especially in the rainy season like it is now).  I wake up to America’s National Public Radio to listen to the news of the day, I check the New York Times front page, Then I go through the excruciating task of seeing how much my investments have diminished, I check my email, and then see if the latest torrent downloads of my favorite U.S. TV shows has completed.  I then check on what my “friends” on Facebook have been up to, and maybe make a video call on Skype to my children and see how much my granddaughter has grown since my last call.  I later view the latest episode of The Daily Show, and then go to bed listening to the BBC’s World Service.  It makes for a full day.

I also keep myself busy writing this blog, updating my webpage (retire2thailand.com), and checking on my eBook business endeavor (ebooksinthailand.com).  That doesn’t include every time I have any kind of question and I Google the answer, or use an online Thai/English dictionary, or check in with my publishers, or see what movies are playing at the local multiplex, or just surf around.  I’m not doing any of that now and am beginning to suffer from cold sweats, muscle aches, headaches and nausea.  Cold turkey from Internet addiction is no picnic.

But maybe this unconnected cloud I am living in has a silver lining.  I now have time to do things I haven’t done in a while and enjoy the reasons I came to Thailand in the first place.  It’s the rainy season and I now have the luxury to sit and watch the rain turning our garden a luxuriant shiny green.  I am taking things a lot more slowly too.  I am typing this blog post on a simple, unconnected computer, and listening to Beethoven on my stereo.  Later I will read an eBook I recently downloaded (when the world was normal and I was connected).   I’m also reading one of my dozens of regular “paper” books that I have ignored for months and months.  And I just got off the phone with my son in the U.S.  We talked over a regular land line.  I might even have a conversation with my wife later today.  Who woulda thunk it?

If I could I would start a 12 step program to help me deal with my withdrawal.  But since I don’t know all the 12 steps, I would have to get on to Google and look them up.   Looks like I may have to ride back into town to an Internet café.  I can check my email, and then upload this post.  But then again, even though I may be “disconnected” from a world I have grown used to, I am beginning to feel more of a connection to a lot of things I thought I had lost.  Maybe I’ll just postpone rejoining the 21st century for a while and give “cold turkey” a few more days.


Update January 21 2018 – From my Facebook post

I broke down and joined the 21st Century

Pikun and Darin shamed me into buying a new smart phone (I used to have a phone that made phone calls); Galaxy J7 Core 16GB, 13 MP camera, 64 bit processor, 4G LTE, whatever all that means. $160 and my monthly fee, unlimited data and calls, $15.86 (If you live somewhere other than Thailand compare and let me know).

What it means is that this phone has at least 1 million+ times the processing power of my first PC (2 8K floppy disks) – probably many millions.

And Darin has taught me to Line, Uber, Google Map, Message, convert currency, check the weather (in Papua New Guinea if I want), take and share pictures, and even make telephone calls. I guess it is fair since I taught him to speak and read, which seems to have been a bit easier than this.

Now I won’t get lost, and if I do I can Message or Line you right away with a picture of my suffering, and then call an Uber to get me home – while listening to Rock & Roll or YouTube on my Blue Tooth headphones.

Life in the 21st Century. And I promise never to use my phone while having a meal with friend.