Surfing the web not for everyone

For some people, the Web is still what spiders make, IT is how to spell "it," and Twitter? Well, that's just for the birds.

Being connected isn't for everyone.

"I am not connected to the internet. I just won't have it in my home," said LaVern Roberts, 83, of Omak. "I don't know how, and I don't believe in it."

She isn't the only one.

Dimitri Mandelis, president of LocalTel, a Wenatchee-based telephone and Internet company, said he usually doesn't focus on people who aren't online.

"I'm always dealing with people who want to get connected," he said. "Or people who want it even faster."

But the company does ask people who disconnect why they no longer want the service. Turns out most people are just moving, he said.

Sometimes, though, they're trying to save money.

"They may be cutting back on expenses. Maybe they're going through a tough time, and they didn't use it that much anyway. Or their computer died," he said.

The cost of internet service, and of buying and maintaining a computer, is one reason some people aren't connected, he said.'

Carmen Nelson - who was manning the Chesaw Country Store for a friend on a recent weekday - said there were a lot of people in her small community who weren't connected.

"The dial-up is extremely slow, so most of the people that are connected have satellite," she said.

That's when cost becomes a limiting factor.

Nelson said she pays $70 a month for hers, which isn't even the Cadillac option.

"You can't go on and watch movies, or download a whole lot of things," she said.

She said most people don't want to pay that much. "They don't even bother."

And then, there are those who just don't care for it.

Mandelis said that probably includes a lot of older people.

"But I've met business people who are truly not connected, and like it that way," he said. "When you're wired in, you're interrupted all the time. It's a very fast life."

Barbara Herman, a 72-year-old Keller woman, said she has a number of reasons for staying offline. And time is one of them.

"Some things need not be hurried, or sent with the push of a button," she said. "I'm disturbed about what gets lost in the process.

"That includes the beauty of written remembrances, acknowledgements and hand-written wedding or sympathy cards - all of those things that are precious."

Herman said she doesn't think it's her age that's holding her back.

"It isn't that I'm unwilling to keep up with things as the world moves along," she said. "It wouldn't matter if I was 21, 51, 71 or 101.

"Maybe younger people see it as if you are too old. You don't want to learn. No, that's not it. It is truly the question of, are you using it for meaningful, necessary communication? Or is it just the easy way out?"

Herman said she sees people texting when they could be interacting. She hears about kids who spend much of their time in the virtual world.

"Are they tending to a little garden area? Are they learning to sew? Are they learning to cook?" she asked.

Then, there's the divide between those who do and those who don't.

"People should not be made to feel like they don't matter," Herman said.

Herman said she's not against technology. It just needs to be balanced with everything else that life has to offer.

"It's just one tool, one aspect, and if we're wise, we'll be cautious not to limit ourselves," she said.

As for Roberts - who wouldn't have it in her house - she just doesn't trust it.

"My older granddaughter, she's connected to the computer. She told me she can tell me everything I've got, where I go, and where I live, and I don't believe in that.

"It's nobody's business, and that's the way I look at it."

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