When the connection drops off…


My Internet supply is intermittent at best. If there is a high wind (not that that happens frequently in Edinburgh!) it gives up entirely. Or the internet may be broadcasting merrily with green lights blazing and winking on the modem but neither my laptop nor my netbook wishes to acknowledge it. Rather like the unpopular child in the playground: however many times I “connect” the two machines just turn their backs. Even when I shove in the Ethernet cable (usually pretty roughly if we have got to that stage—what is the point of wifi if it neither wi’s nor fi’s?) both machines shut their eyes and hope that it will go away. And I never know what it is that suddenly makes the machines allow the unpopular child back into the game.

My connection to my PhD is similar. Some days I know exactly what I am doing and work happily away writing lots, discovering things I didn’t know I knew and finish in the evenings with a real feeling of accomplishment. Other days it’s as if the connection is broken. I can’t get anything down, my signal constantly interrupted by tiredness, visitors, hunger or just a blank mind. It is strange that this happens as I never stop thinking about the PhD. Just like the unpopular child it perseveres in trying to get my attention. I can see it on the periphery of my vision, but it irregularly connects with the bit of my brain that does output.

Perhaps I should de-frag myself?

In writing this, I wonder if this is similar to how it feels to have dementia? I know that people with dementia have “good” and “bad” days. On good days the words come out the right way round and they are fully present. On bad days, some kind of membrane divides them from their family and friends and they struggle to pull words out of chewing gum. They are also affected by tiredness and visitors. Sometimes their broadband is working and at other times the high wind has blown it away.  

 

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