They’d remember a time before the Internet came along, when it was just you gals together, always there for each other. The gang. One of you’d pop round – or phone – and before you know it you’d be out together. Or in over mugs of tea and Hobnobs, sorting out the problem and laughing. How good did that feel?
Only now, it’s the Internet you turn to. Headache? Weird ache in your stomach? Relationship dilemma? Uncertainty over the best haircut for your face shape? Aren’t faces just face-shaped? How to de-clutter? What an axolotl is? How to lose weight? Where to go on holiday? What – when and how – you should be doing with every damn thing in your life?
And right there, good as gold, Internet gives you the treasure – wrapped in a pretty bow. Delivering exactly what you want: Brain tumour, furballs, chuck him, pixie cut, how can you not know your face shape – you disgrace to womankind? you can’t de-clutter on your own, are you mad? it’s a walking fish that isn’t a fish – obviously, see de-cluttering reply, some dull beach-front destination would be best – pay your deposit now before it’s too late (for what? and that gives you months to get bikini-ready). It’s so much easier and more reassuring than asking your chums, isn’t it? And, besides, it’s all a bit of an effort to actually talk to them with words – and to listen to their stories too. Why would you need to go anywhere else for information and advice when the loyal, generous Internet meets all your needs from the palm of your hand?
Soon, the Internet is anticipating your desires. A search for a solution to your problem (How the tax system works? What to use if you haven’t got any asafoetida? What to wear for the work do? How get rid of a mouse without killing it? What’s next now I’m diagnosed with a chronic illness? Are the guinea pigs too fat? – and that’s just in one day. At first, it seems like evidence of the Internet’s talent. How clever? Look, there’s the solution to my problem before I’d even quite decided it was a problem.
At first, you hardly notice it. Probably, because it’s your fault anyway, the reason you feel bad. It says: Did you know your face shape is out of fashion? The mouse will be back to RUIN YOUR LIFE. And you are not doing that illness properly – if you were doing it right you’d be in hospital right now, or you’d be better, and you’re neither. But it must be true because it’s on the Internet and the internet knows everything…
So you try even harder. Come on, Internet, tell me what I need to do now… Deliver the answers, it’s what you’re good at. How should I be doing things if I want to be more like those other people you show me – the ones with the successful businesses, happy children, clean houses, and ends that meet. These people know what they’re doing, look at them with that latte on that adventure.
But if your friends could see you, they’d set you straight. They’d remind you that it’s all an illusion and if they were really having fun, they’d be too busy laughing with their legs crossed to take a selfie – and put a filter on it. Then they’d say that the Internet never really loved you – not a bit – and it’s time to ignore the lies, trust yourself and give Google the elbow.