From Craigslist: a carpenter to build my beehive, three antique food crocks at a good price, a fold-out couch, a very good friend, people to take away my boxes, a woman to buy some beads, a hazelnut tree, wine jugs, a contractor, fencing boards to build raised beds, a source of alder or ash logs, firewood, garden soil, and a husband.
Not all at the same time of course, but these days if I want something or need a job done, the first stop is Craigslist before I look anywhere else. Now the friend and the husband I wasn’t looking for explicitly, but each of them came into my life as a result of Craiglist’s posts and hell – I’m keeping them!
But really, it makes me think about how the Internet has changed the way I go about things. Need a financial management tool? Mint. Need a nutrition and fitness plan? Sparkpeople. Want to find out how my Mom is doing? Facebook. Bank balance? Online banking. Looking for facts about any subject? Wikipedia. And of course Craiglist is the ultimate second-hand shop, flea market and local networking venue. Trying to find anything else? Google.
Fifteen years ago, none of this existed you know, and no one in my hood had high-speed Internet either. But as I’ve grown into my adulthood, so has technology sped right alongside, and I find myself in a world altogether different from the one I was born into.
It just dawned on my Wednesday as I shook hands with a person I had never met (my beehive carpenter) – once again making a connection with someone completely facilitated by technology (and thank goodness because it turns out my carpentry skills were *not* up to the task of building that damned thing). And that despite my hardcore technology critique and skepticism of the corporations that run these sites, much bounty has come into my life because of the techno-expansion of the last decade. I mean, where would I be now if I hadn’t met my lovely Brian? Without the Internet would I have met my one true love or my appointed angel?
Perhaps yes because I would be out in the world more. But maybe not, because the truth is I’d rather stay home and read a great deal of the time (a hallmark of getting older I know) and without an easily facilitated outside world… well – I have no idea how much I’d bother interacting with it. It’s not like before the Internet Canada was some free and easy social culture with supportive urban community (unlike many intact communities I have seen internationally). But of course, it’s not possible to answer what the world would have been like without something – and my world so specifically relies on technology (I’m a web developer and manager after all) that it’s impossible to separate my adult life from it.
Mostly, life just feels a lot more convenient than it would otherwise – like we’ve got a giant bulletin board to pin notes to where thousands of people stop by and take a look every day. Even better than that, we can start the awkward conversations of living from behind our keyboards before we even have to meet face to face (I find it much easier to negotiate prices for services via the computer, rather than over the phone or in person for example). In the hyper-society in which we now live, it seems impossible that we should live without this convenience. For me personally – given the fact I really did meet my husband via Craigslist – I can’t even imagine my life without it.