I have a couple of things that I’ve come to depend on—coffee to wake me up in the morning and Bruno Mars tunes to elevate my mood.
But lately, I’ve realized neither of these comes close to the dependency my family and I have developed around our Wi-Fi connection.
Over the past month, COX’s internet service has been nothing short of erratic, and each time it is out, it throws us into a tailspin of helplessness, frustration and desperation.
Last Friday after I dropped my daughter off at summer school, I had plans to write my column, pay bills online and search for airline flights for our upcoming trip. But as soon as I sat down in front of my computer and saw a frozen screen, I knew not even “24K Magic” was going to save me until service resumed at 2 p.m. (We’re talking four hours here!)
It’s not just websites that are inaccessible, our land line is dead, my Wi-Fi calling on my cell phone is useless, texting is iffy and forget about binge watching Netflix or Prime Video. As my daughter has lamented, “Now, what am I supposed to do at home?”
Lack of Wi-Fi has forced us on several occasions to leave the house in search of reception—once when my daughter had to finish a book report and another time when she had a Skype voice lesson.
The voice lesson was tricky. It took a force of two parents, two cars and two cell phones to accomplish this task. First, we had to find a place on the Hill where we could get good LTE phone reception. And since my daughter didn’t want anyone in the car with her, my husband and I had to drive each of our cars to the designated spot. Once parked, we set up my car so that my phone would play the instrumental music in the background while my husband’s phone was set up to Skype with her teacher. From there, we waited in the parking spot next to her for half an hour until her lesson ended.
It’s a little embarrassing that we would go to such extremes just to get on the grid. But I am not alone in feeling helpless without Wi-Fi.
According to a consumer study published on Advanced Television website, Wi-Fi routers have surpassed the smartphone as the number one technology U.S. adults cannot live without for more than one day, and nearly two-thirds of U.S. adults (64 percent) replied they couldn’t be without Wi-Fi for more than one day.
Kids are no different. When they come over to the house, they don’t really care about what snacks I’m serving or the location of the bathroom. But, a smile of relief appears on their faces only after they have our Wi-Fi password.
I know we can never go back to our pre-Wi-Fi days. In fact, it looks like our dependency on these radio waves will only intensify as the smart device market is expected to double from 11.1 to 20.4 billion globally by 2020.
It’s hard to be dependent on something we can’t even see. But it's even harder knowing there's no way to break "the habit."