On dialup modems, books and all-forgiving screens

My good friend Mala send me a very interesting article. It’s about teenagers who gave up being online for a day and the results that followed. I’d tell you to read it but it seems that the link does not work anymore.

It got me thinking. I was raised at the time when there was no internet and phones were as big as remote controls. I was a teenager when the idea of fast internet entered in our lives and the sound of the dialup modem still haunts my dreams.*Hell, I even tried to create ringtones by adding weird number/letter combos that would eventually create a beautiful monophonic symphony of ‘Baby One More Time’. Shitiest maestro ever.

Point is, as a child and a teenager I had to entertain myself. I had to find ways to make time pass, especially when my sibling couldn’t be bothered to deal with me. I used to read. I remember I read the Three Musketeer when I was ten. I was so mesmerised, that when it finished I cried because of the cruelty of Dumas to end his tale. Luckily, as with any good blockbuster, sequels ensued.

I was the type of person whose life was over when a favourite character would die. I wouldn’t know what to do with myself when a book ended, life was pointless, I could not imagine feeling joy ever again, and so on and so forth. From ages 10-22 I read all the time**, wherever I could, whatever I could get my hands to. I remember I had finals, the type that determine whether or not you’d go to uni, and I can see myself, crouching over Jane Eyre, crying my eyes out because of all the drama. I have destroyed handbags because I carried too heavy books dammit! And you can’t tell me that’s not commitment!

I can absolutely pinpoint the moment I started having difficulties reading books. I was 22 and I bought a phone that could connect online. That was it.

The End (pun intended).

It has become harder and harder to concentrate on productive and creative things on my free time. It seems I am stuck in front of the almighty, life-giving and all-forgiving screen. As I write this entry I keep stopping just to check social media or change a song. Like the douchebag I am, I can’t even give proper time and care to this post (she said, feeling no remorse whatsoever).

And then fast internet happened, and series came into my life (I will get back to the topic of series, they’re my crack, heroin, lover and mother at the same time). And somehow, I forgot how to be submerged into a book, how to be completely taken over by a character, a story or even the pretty pictures on the pages.

Maybe people reach their book limit at some point. Maybe this is it for me. I will have to go through life with teenage books, English classics and Harry Potter (what? I feel no shame, judge away!) as my sole literary references.

I’m afraid this post will give you no closure. But we’ll get there.

Won’t we?


*Once, I counted how many seconds were needed in order to download a second of a Youtube video. 15. 15 seconds to download 1 second of video. The horror. The horror. The shame.

** And very inappropriate books, if I may say so. I read Kinflicks, by Lisa Athler, when I was 13. It was laying around my cousin’s house and I stole BOTH paperback volumes. Shamelessly. It’s about the story of Ginny through the 60’s and 70’s in the U.S. Reading about pointy bras, lesbianism and tantric sex confused me and excited me at the same time. Needless to say, I understood half of the book, and mostly the teenage years of Ginny who was in love with a badass, cause, you know, wishful thinking.


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