On Monday, the cable went out at our house and took our broadband with it. This was annoying for me, since without Internet access I can't read blogs, waste hours watching old commercials from my childhood on YouTube, or enjoy Photoshopped images of Michael Bublé and a velociraptor. But for G, being Internet-less for the evening was a tragedy so epic that Euripides might have hesitated to tackle it. She didn't want to draw, or read a book, or write a story, or play video games, or watch a movie, or dangle toys for the cats, or do any of the myriad other activities that she normally enjoys--she wanted to be online, damn it, and nothing else would do. We got home at 5:30, she finished her homework by 6:30, and then we had this conversation over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over:
She: Is it working now?
Me: Not yet.
I hadn't slept well the night before, and by eight o'clock I was so tired my head was spinning, so I went upstairs to lie down for a while. It would have been great, except that G followed me and spent the next 45 minutes hovering over my semi-conscious body and asking "Is the cable working now? Is it working now? What about now? Can you check and see?" until I finally sat up and said "Look, kid, humans survived for 100,000 years before the Internet was invented. I think you can make it for one night. GO FIND SOMETHING ELSE TO DO."
"This is torture," she groaned, and moped off to her room, where she sat--surrounded by TV, DVD player, Wii, Nintendo DS, flip video camera, books, movies, art supplies, and various other amusements--and was grumpy until bedtime. I was strongly tempted to get out our copy of The Phantom Tollbooth and make her read the first chapter, where Milo has everything in the world and is still bored.
(Actually, if someone had delivered a phantom tollbooth to our house right then, I probably would have paid the toll and waved her on her way. She could have come back when she'd learned her lesson, or when the cable was fixed, whichever came first.)
Anyway, the next day we had Internet access again and all was right with the world. I'm starting to wonder, though, whether I ought to restrict her computer time more if she's that obsessed with it. I've never actually seen a crack addict in search of a fix, but if I had, I'll bet it would have looked a lot like G did when she was stranded at the side of the information superhighway.