It’s 1 am. I finally finish preparing my sourdough to go in the fridge. Time for some Netflix. What? No connection. Hulu doesn’t connect either. Dear God, no. Amazon Prime? Nope. It’s worse than I thought. Please just be my router, please just be my router. I unplug the router and wait 30 seconds. Plug it back in. Nope. Where did I put that damn manual? Now I need to find something small enough to stick in the reset hole button. I get a toothpick. I say a prayer. It’s not the router.
The internet is down. God has abandoned us.
I feel a great disturbance in the force. As if millions of gamers suddenly cried out in terror — and were suddenly silenced. I feel something terrible has happened.
I’ve been joking about this; how it’s not really an apocalypse while we still have WiFi. Be careful what you wish for. I still can’t believe it’s true. I need a second opinion. How do I even investigate this? Do I just type ‘Help!’ into Google? I search ‘is the internet down’ on my phone and remember — I have no WiFi. This is what I imagine Hell must feel like. I turn off the WiFi on my phone and switch to cellular data. The towers are overloaded and it’s slow. But there’s hope. I stumble across an independent site where people can report outages.
My worst fear is confirmed. United in fury, customers across the country comment on their internet status in real time.
The first comment: ‘I’ve gone totally limp now. This sucks.’
These are my people. My tribeless wandering lost in the cellular landscape.
‘Is anyone even listening to us? We’re alone.’
They are confused.
‘Coronavirus now jumped to machines?’
They are enraged.
‘DAT BITCH CAROLE BASKIN TOOK OUT MY INTERNET’
They are frustrated.
‘Hey spectrum I just got dank Chinese food delivered with the orange chicken obvi can we get the internet poppinback up in weho? Need that asap rocky thx.’
And they are suffering.
‘Just paid a cam model in Bulgaria for one whole hour and now this. Thanks sucktrem.’
Their wisdom and vulnerability comfort me in the darkness. We’re all in this together. How many online soldiers lives were ended prematurely? So much loss. ‘I was in the middle of an intense firefight on BF5. I abandoned my squad thanks to this crappy internet.’ Thank you for your service, Han Cholo. RIP your squad. I hope it wasn’t a ranked match.
‘At least no more zoom meeting,’ one user says. Little consolation in the face of losing everything I love — how will I bingewatch Season 3 of Ozark? Or catch up on my tactical room clearing videos? Or rewatch Tiger Woods win the 1997 Masters? Sure I could watch on one of my handheld devices, but I’m not a millennial. Now I know how Laura Ingalls Wilder must have felt on Little House on the Prairie. Cold and forced to read by candlelight.
Suddenly I panic. What if it never works again? What if our infrastructure is finally collapsing? What if this is it?
A nation that’s been on lockdown for going on eight weeks is ready to riot after 20 minutes of no internet. This is what happens when the free markets fail us and we allow monopolies. I check the gun next my bed. Slow down, Bridget.
I return to my support group for some glimmer of hope. ‘Okay internet’s not back up yet but look’s like I’m getting hard again.’
Nature is healing. We’re gonna be OK.