A first-world lament. Still . . .
It’s not yet 7:00 a.m. on Saturday and I am in the driveway, sitting in my husband’s Toyota going nowhere, trying not to spill coffee on my pajamas. There’s a reason.
Our WiFi went down yesterday morning. Because of our location, cell service is practically non-existent. If this has never happened to you for longer than an hour or two, you might think it’s not a big deal. As for us, we are finding ourselves effectively, and a bit surprisingly, marooned.
Could you live without your cell phone, your WiFi, your devices and go back to the 1970s or so, asks a repetitive post on Facebook? In a word, no. Here’s just one morning’s worth of why.
I can’t read my email. Which means I can’t continue my correspondence with the next subjects of this blog (apologies!), with a friend who’s having a birthday, with my French study group to learn the where and when of next week’s soirée. How many emails are piling up in my inbox asking for a prompt response? I have no way of knowing, and worse, I have no way to telegraph the senders the reason for my silence. Surely they’re finding me boorish. (And what if the universe has chosen this particular moment for my inbox to contain an offer to write for The New Yorker, and I’m saying nothing?)
I had barely finished my Zoom book group meeting before the WiFi fizzled; now, no more Zoom. Is the Hood Museum officially opening today? Yes, it’s in my (paper) calendar but I neglected to note the time. Shall we go to SculptureFest? What will the weather be like this afternoon? For both, we say “we’ll look it up online.” We can’t.
There’s another of those fraudulent phone calls supposedly from Amazon telling me they are about to authorize a $999 purchase for an Apple Watch on my account. I ignore it but try to go online just to check, and well, you know . . . And don’t get me started on the loss of the New York Times Spelling Bee, my morning go-to as much as my double shot of espresso.
My FitBit refuses to sync.
I’m living in a cave, I thought morosely, returning home after a trip of 5 miles each way to Colburn Park to sit on a bench, per chance to Tweet. Will I need to become one of those semi-permanent residents of a table at some coffee haunt, soaking in their WiFi while I nurse a chai latte and try to avoid the stink-eye from other customers for hogging the space?
Ah, but technology begets more technology, and necessity is still the mother of invention. As it happens, my husband’s newish car has bells and whistles he is still discovering, toward which I have been somewhat disdainful (“too fancy”) until now. In a moment of inspiration and derring-do, the hero of our story grabs the car manual from the glove compartment and announces that he can “create a hotspot” that will corral those WiFi thingies and force them through the car’s satellite system. And an hour later, he wakes me up from a nap to tell me to grab my iPad and take the passenger seat. Voila!
And . . . It. Is. Bliss.
I’ll be back tomorrow morning to publish this from said passenger seat, with a smaller coffee mug that will fit into the car’s cup holder. And Jesus give me strength. The Comcast technician can’t come until Wednesday.
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And in case you are wondering . . . Susan B. Apel shuttered a lifelong career as a law professor to continue an interest (since kindergarten) in writing. Her freelance business, The Next Word, includes literary and feature writing; her work has appeared in a variety of lit mags and other publications including Art New England, The Woven Tale Press, The Arts Fuse, and Persimmon Tree. She connects with her neighbors through Artful, her blog about arts and culture in the Upper Valley. She’s in love with the written word.