Making a home II

3.3.2021

Last Saturday I got WiFi sorted at the flat.

I felt such relief. And a bit of shame too.How has it become so damn important that for days I could only think about that?

Part of the relief was being able to do research and work, not thinking anymore if a video will be cut off because I didn’t buy enough data or have to shorten personal calls thinking I need to save up until I’m sorted. But a large part is also realising there’s no home for me that isn’t at the same time here and over there. I will feel unsafe as long as I don’t have a way to easily and, if possible, unlimitedly reach for this over there; peopled by my folks and all the relations that matter every day.

Yet this access and contact to beyond my room, the neighbourhood, the city, the country… is different from the feeling of connecting a landline or having a SIM card with international calls because I don’t think of it as a person-to-person connection, as only being able to call family, friends or colleagues. Nor is it a larger sense of a place-to-place connection. What I was missing until Saturday was one – illusory – person-to-everywhere-and-everybody connection.

(I say illusory because it is mediated by social media platforms, search engines, the websites I use the most, language barrier, algorithms, digital divide, various cultural supremacies…)

I balance between the feeling that this need for Internet is both, still a form of dependence and a need for me to consume an easily accessible, never finite amount of the new as well as of the familiar in the form of news stories from the countries I’ve lived in, updates on the lives of the people I care about, new encounters around similar interests or situation, the latest developments of whatever I was following up upon… And the feeling that I can’t call a place home, as long as I’ve not relocated myself within the network of my digital connections. I don’t only have a physical place I need to process, I also have coordinates on the map of these connections I need to regain and without them I feel temporarily lost.

Do you, too?

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