The Call of the Wired

Dearest Rachel –

Back in the day, we used to bring our computers with us on these trips (just like we did when we went to the island) in order to entertain ourselves on certain slower days. In the early days, we had stuff on CDs, which we later swapped out for portable hard drives full of media of one form or another. Music, anime, manga… plenty to keep us occupied.

This was mostly because the Internet wasn’t ever really a thing on either the island or on cruise ships. It gave us a chance to just take some time and enjoy what we had collected over the time since we were last untethered from the information superhighway. Most of the time at home, we were too busy gathering new stuff that we didn’t have the time to go through and enjoy what we’d already gathered.

But it seems that times have changed. Between the constant march of technology, combined with the fact that they don’t want to hand out papers all the time (that may have been handled by many dirty hands), the schedules onboard the ship are now in electronic form rather than hard copies. This has apparently compelled them to step up their Internet game, and boy, have they ever! You could probably tell just by the number of letters I’ve been able to send you over the past day or so; I wouldn’t have been able to do this even back in December 2019, on our last cruise.

Of course, as impressive as it is, it’s something of a two-edged sword. It’s more my speed to lie in bed and watch YouTube than go out to the Royal Theatre; there have never been that many shows I wanted to attend, and the one I did, well… at least, we had our chance with that. Can’t have that night back, but at least we did have that night. Anyway, it’s great fun to be able to tune in like this, but I could do that at home. It doesn’t seem appropriate to be doing the same thing abroad as I could back home. Besides, I’m supposed to be socializing with other people, regardless of whether I’d rather be online – the fact that the option to withdraw exists is a dangerous temptation for me. I may find myself insisting that I’m just documenting everything for your – and my – future benefit, but I know that’s just an excuse.

And while it allows me to keep up with the constant influx of email, it keeps me from completely detaching myself from the ‘real’ world, and actually relaxing. On the other hand, I just remembered to wish Daniel well, as he’s handling the games at Sparks tonight, without any assistance from me. Hope he made it there on time, and that everything goes smoothly.

I’m not the only one like this, though. As I was walking from one end of the ship to the other to take pictures of various activities, I saw a lot of people laying out, tapping away at their phones. We are all impossibly tethered to the Internet these days (by which I mean it’s impossible to pull ourselves away from it), and not even a vacation like this can disconnect us anymore; we have to stay connected, for one reason or another.

This isn’t a ‘kids these days’ rant; I’m every bit is guilty as the next person (and probably more – if nothing else, I’ve been out amidst The Wired long before some of ‘these kids’ were even born). I’m just saying that times have changed, and provisions have been made for our wide, wired (or more to the point these days, wireless) world. And while it definitely has its points – if nothing else, I find myself grateful that an extended trip like the one I’m considering in 2024 will be that much more possible if I can handle bills and whatnot from my cabin – it can’t be all good for us to be too connected to the ether that we ignore what’s right around us. Or equally so, that while we are aware of our surroundings, we no longer know how to interact with it, and those within it.

I think that’s where I am right now, and it can’t be doing me any favors. Well, we’ll have to see what comes of it; there’s still the better part of the week left to go.

As always, honey, wish me luck (oh, and remember Daniel, too) – we’ll need it.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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