On the one hand, a good case was made in the Maine Legislature in August that broadband is as important as any other utility or public infrastructure, and some of our legislators expressed frustration when their colleagues wouldn’t vote to issue the $15 million broadband expansion bond along with the transportation bond, because working Mainers need reliable internet in order to get stuff done. On the other hand, studies show that too much time living on the mean streets of the social media world makes people, especially teenagers, just plain miserable.

On the one hand, as a freelance writer I am most grateful for electronic communications because e-mail allows me to more or less telecommute from a remote rock on the edge of the map where the kraken has his lair, and I can avoid the burden of mailing in my columns or any other work, especially considering that on Matinicus the mail doesn’t go anywhere if it is raining. On the other hand, some people struggle under a boss who has the unmitigated audacity to dispatch work-related e-mails at 11:30 p.m. and expect a response. If you supposedly work a day job, and wouldn’t ordinarily consider the middle of the night one’s duty hour, that’s inhumane. I guess it happens all the time.

On the one hand, some crimes committed against the public by penny-ante tyrants, bad city cops and third-world gangsters might never have been brought into the sunshine without cell phone cameras and internet connections. On the other hand, there has probably never been quite such an effective means ever built to fool us, and to separate us fools from our money.

I have a conflicted relationship with this technology. Perhaps this is asking a lot, but I want it both ways: I want to use it when it’s a helpful tool, but I don’t want to be bothered by it when it’s intrusive. No, Alexa, you are not welcome to join the merry gang of friends around my kitchen table, and online sidebar ads for things I have not shopped for but have chatted about are not only funny, they’re frightening. We are all being stalked by the grafter and the hustler that is the retail internet. Shut it down.

On the other hand, I have a great time with the weather and aviation and maritime apps available online, and some of that stuff costs money. To each her own.

Here on Matinicus, where cell phone signal is marginal and erratic at best, we opened a delightful if tiny library three years ago which provides a wireless hotspot. Visitors can, in good conscience, tell their boss that they’ll have no cell service while here, but can still check messages when it matters. I suspect that pretty soon we’ll see vacationers spending all kinds of money for the privilege of a week offline. Going “upta camp” somewhere without constant connectivity will become stylish and trendy. Just you watch.

I like my old iPhone but am resistant to constant upgrading. I am not, for example, in line for a Dick Tracy Two-Way Wrist TV. My sister-in-law has one of those smart watches and it accidentally called 911 on her when she didn’t have an emergency, when somehow it “thought” she had fallen down the stairs. That’s a bit much. I’m probably better off with a $30 analog Timex that can withstand the blacksmith shop and the potato patch. Something worth a lot of money attached to my wrist might be a bad idea. I don’t know how to take somebody’s pulse using a touch screen anyway. Must be I’m old; it helps to see the fractions of the circle while I’m counting the heartbeats.

In Maine, messing with your cell phone while driving is officially a big no-no as of the 19th of this month. I’m good with that. Admittedly, I don’t know how to set up the Bluetooth but, unlike some confirmed codgers, do not say, “I can’t possibly learn to do that.” Of course I can learn. Supposedly, the system was named for the real Harald Bluetooth, King of Denmark back in the 900s. I don’t know whether that’s a true story, but it’s cool.

Speaking of Vikings, as I type up these comments (some of which were hand-scribbled first, yes) I look forward to a short vacation largely offline. The phone man and I are headed for Newfoundland to find the Vikings, if not the cod, and a large hydroelectric dam because everybody has a hobby. We may use the smartphone for logistics from time to time (he has just announced that we are signed up for Air Canada flight updating) but perhaps we won’t have signal everywhere in Labrador. I don’t care one bit. In fact, I kind of hope we don’t.