With every new trip to the motherland (a.k.a enat hager, sheger, “back-home”, ET), I always take it for granted that there will be a period of adjustment, after which I will become like a fish back in water—just a different kind of water, soon after which it will be time for this fish to fly back out into the air again. But as of this trip, four weeks and change in, I can say toss me in the depths of the Amazon jungle next time and I guarantee that will not feel so out of place as I have on the past several weekends and the random weekdays, when the blue progress bar on my Safari Browser, or the little revolving circle of gray rays on my Mail App, kept getting indefinitely stuck in place as if by some invisible but potent force (like those lethal electric fences only dogs can feel) that just would not let them reach completion and show me my damn fluff website already, or let me confirm once more that I nope, I still don’t have any new mail because last time I checked, being pathetic was still my right.
Slow Internet used to be par for the course. It let you multitask in the sense that you could brush your teeth and wash your face and sometimes even prepare a snack while waiting for a page to load. But comatose? Just no sign of life? That wasn’t in the brochure.
A long time ago, life in the People’s Republic had very quickly introduced me to a lovely thing called VPN. But even that presumes the existence of the very first necessity of life. P.S. The necessities of life have rearranged themselves as: the Internet, shelter, food, then everything else. (I’m trying to bring down my BMI…Bloody Mad Internet-User-Index)
I used to think that most, like myself, enjoy imagining many alternates of the same story, or explanations for why people are the way they are, but of late I’ve noticed that there are those for whom it is equally natural to either create wholesale, or cobble together, a single preferred narrative about any given thing and stick to that come hell or high demonstration, and just hammer that narrative home, to death, and so on.
Examples: the leadership (much like mother and father) takes the exam success of its youth very seriously; the satellite rent wasn’t paid on time this month; the clouds are particularly dense this keremt.
Wandering around Addis, keeping her feet to the ground so to speak, a girl learns a lot of things. To hold her pee, hold her breath, hold her purse, hold serious cash, hold her mouth because contrary to what your Internet experience will have you believe there are still antennae everywhere, don’t you know? Say a few keywords and you’ll notice somebody’s pair perk up. No, they’re not checking for the view behind you. They may be just listening, or they may add to the day’s lesson. Hold the handrails too, dear, of that new light rail system you’re so fond of but you better grab on tight, not just because the guy at the wheel is twitchy when it comes to the brake but also FYI because it’s not really yours. Progress my a**, none of what you see and are so impressed by is yours.
Fine, just give me my Internet! That’s not anybody’s, is it? Whoever’s it is! Until now, the Internet had been a given for me, like the existence of God. You can question it, worship it, get cranky about it, but you can’t actually switch it off, can you?
Like I said, a girl learns a lot of things sometimes. Such as how there is other-God called ESAT which, whenever she tries to access it, appears on the Google search results sure enough but goes poof! like a phantom no one conjured, certainly not God, when she hits on the first link.
In the end, the flesh is weaker than the will so she gives up the fight and snuggles up with the corpses of mosquitoes, smiling lightly that at least over them she still has the ultimate power.