If you trust Wikipedia (which I do, with my entire life), then you’ll know that the internet was invented in the mid 1980s.
Now, if I remember correctly, it was invented in a warehouse in Milton Keynes by Steve Jobs. Obviously Steve Jobs is now dead, but as far as I’m aware, the internet is still kept in that warehouse, just north of London. Actually, the internet is so big now, what with The Facebook and everything, that they’ve probably expanded it to a handful of warehouses. But anyway, that’s where the internet is kept. Just in case you ever wondered. And don’t tell anyone, because I think it’s supposed to be a bit of a mystery.
So, we’ve established that I have a pretty comprehensive knowledge of the old internet. However, one thing I’ve finally admitted to myself over the past few months is that I don’t know how to ‘surf’ it.
I’m a child of the ’90s; of baggy jeans and Britpop; New Labour and MTV; technological advancement and the internet. I grew up with it. In fact, it grew up with me. It should be completely intuitive. But it’s not. I have absolutely no idea how to use it.
Here is my internet ritual each time I log on. (Does anyone actually say ‘log on’ anymore?). I find google and check my gmail. I don’t mean to boast but I’m pretty good at this now. I can check it really quickly.
Then, I pause. Not knowing quite what to do, before going for the next safest option: my bank. Since I am what might be described as a ‘missionary’, seeing if anyone’s given me any money is relatively important to my well-being, so it’s always quite fun to check. After checking my bank, I’m stumped. Totally stumped. I’m not on The Facebook (for reasons I’ll write about another time), so I don’t have the option of whiling away hours looking at other people’s pictures.
So, I get stuck. I go back to google. Then maybe look at BBC News. Then I spend a few minutes trying to work out what it would feel like to ‘surf’ the internet. So I type in a few random phrases into google ‘what should i do with my life?’, ‘why is it so hard to find white dog poo these days?’… Then I give up.
Feeling silly, incapable and slightly ashamed, I quietly turn off my computer.
I feel the eyes of every other person in Pacific Coffee burning into the back of my head. ‘What an idiot’ they think. ‘He doesn’t even know how to surf the internet. He only checked his emails and then logged off. It’s only been six minutes. Ha! And he’s in his late 20s!’
I quickly limp out of the coffee shop, trying to look like I’m late for an appointment, and probably only succeeding in looking constipated.