These days, we do everything – everything – on the Internet. We pay bills, we communicate with friends and family, we break up with our ex’s (oh, wait … that’s text messaging…), and we watch television, look up facts, verify addresses, and even talk on the telephone! Companies conduct business through the Internet, whether by email or through their email messages, and even churches communicate with the “outside world” via their web sites. Hell, there are some churches (which shall, for the present time, remain nameless) that believe the majority of their ministry is through their website, even discussing ways of charging their cherished followers for listening to music or watching one of their videos! (duh…)

You may recall, from my last blog post, that we were semi-off-the-grid without a connection to the Internet due to a problem with Comcast – a problem which has since been taken care of (I no longer feel quite the whore). But when I started catching up on shows I’ve missed through HuluPlus and Netflix, I started thinking how our lives have changed with the use of the Internet.

I remember back in the early 1990s (when I was probably around 3 years old, since I’m only 29… *cough*cough*) when the fastest speed to connect to the Internet was about a 28.8K telephone modem allowed by the FCC. Communication via the Internet was less than optimal. Chat rooms weren’t invented yet – there were “message boards” where you posted your messages and people would post responses. Katie Couric and the rest of the Today Show would launch the infamous question “what… is… Internet?”

Flash forward to today, however, and we’ve even moved beyond the use of paper and the United States Post Office. We can receive our bills either by email or electing to logon to the website and download the current statement. Remember the trusty VCR (Video Cassette Recorder?) we used to record the shows we loved when we couldn’t watch them right when they came on? Now we only watch what we’ve recorded on our DVRs (Digital Video Recorders) having, for the most part, forgotten what it’s like to watch live television anymore. To save space on the DVR, we’ll even catch up on our favorite shows through OnDemand or HuluPlus or Netflix, streaming them through our Internet connection.

It’s funny, how the other day when we were 3 days without our Internet connection, I was realizing just how much it is NOT a luxury – at least not any more than we think of a mobile phone or a car as a luxury. We’ve gotten to the point where we actually need the Internet in our daily lives. It’s not just for porn anymore! Those three days we had to go without, we were positively stymied. We couldn’t pay bills we had lined up for payment, the data on our drives wasn’t being backed up to the off-site location, and (horror of horrors!!) we couldn’t catch up on missed episodes of “So You Think You Can Dance!”

I sit here remembering the movie “The Net” with Sandra Bullock and how blown away I was thinking that it was so advanced – to think that someone could actually work from their home through a computer, order pizza through the computer without ever having to talk to someone, and even schedule for FedEx to pick up packages when needed. I mean, that was, like, WOW!! (Of course now we look at the movie and scoff at the bulky non-flat monitors, the lack of USB drives and thumb drives, and the bricks they called mobile phones!! Oy!)

It’s incredible how far we’ve come in such a short time. I can’t help but wonder how we existed without the Internet – just about everything we do today touches onto it in some way or another. We’ve not only realized what was portrayed in the movie The Net in such a short time, but we’ve surpassed it by leaps and bounds. Hell, I even communicate with my bosses via email – and their sitting at their desk not 5 paces from me! (Oh, but there’s also still the old-fashioned bellowing from their office for me, as well…)

I wonder what else in our lives will transform into something we’ve never expected … (staring at the toaster oven…)