Welcome Back To The 20th Century
YOU WANT TO KNOW HOW DEPENDENT WE ARE? Last Friday afternoon about 2:20 PM I was down at St. Arbucks typing away when my cell phone hummed and told me that I was getting a text message from my wife, the lovely and tech savvy, Dawn.
She was at home working on the Sunday sermon when, as fast as an auctioneer with a small bladder, both the internet and the land-line phone went out. Nothing. Nada. Zip.
A call to the so-called Service Provider got verification that the outage was bigger than just us, but smaller than the western hemisphere. Beyond that kernel of information – Nothing. Nada. Zip.
Our Service Provider is called, “Frontier,” – Aptly named. I think they use wood burning servers and windmill powered processors.
For the remainder of Friday – nothing.
For all of Saturday – Nada.
For all of Sunday – Zip.
It wasn’t until Monday, after 74 hours back in the twentieth century; we were whipsawed back to the present day when service was restored.
We used those 74 hours to our rustic advantage. I went out and plowed the back forty gigabytes while Dawn churned up a batch of Notifications.
We tried to Socially Network with the neighbors, but they would have none of it. They thought we were Hackers, and erected a Firewall.
For 74 hours we were Friendless and were unable to Like anything. We were quite willing to Share, but no one Checked-In.
To be honest with you – being so far out of the loop and unable to do the basic things that compose Modern Life made me feel like a bump on a blog.
It is amazing to me how quickly the 24/7 worldwide access to information and interaction has made us all dependent on it. While we are connected to everyone else we are also isolated, hunched over our small screens, typing away madly with our thumbs.
Over Christmas I was seated around the dining room table with six other people, and all of us were focused on our phones. We were with them, but apart from them. I didn’t notice this until my 95 year old mother-in-law started laughing. When she pointed out what we all looked like I put down my phone and shrugged. Guilty as Charged. Two others put down their phones, but the rest didn’t hear her and kept their eyes on their phones.
This 74 hour technological time warp, thrusting us back into the twentieth century made us look up and at each other. We read more, talked together more and probably lessened our chances of getting carpal tunnel syndrome from all that typing involved in all those text messages, emails, and Facebook postings.
I admit that I did miss my quick and easy access to mountains of useless information. Dawn was a bit flummoxed by her inability to easily shift information from home to her church office. She works weekends (Duh!) and not having the ability to send her sermon to the church ahead of time made for a few anxious moments. But it all worked out well. The earth continued to orbit the sun. Mark Zuckerberg didn’t miss us. No one invited me to play Candy Crush or to say “Amen” about something. And I think that kid holding up a sheet of paper asking for “Likes” is probably 35 years old by now.
About an hour after everything was restored to “normal,” we got a call from Frontier telling us that service had been restored. (I think the fact that the phone rang was a good tipoff on that.) I asked what had caused the outage and she said that somebody had driven their car into, onto, and through one of their electronic thingamabobs in the neighborhood.
OK, I was just curious.
Not being “connected” for those 74 hours, while a bother in some ways, was also relaxing. It made us slow down. It made us lift our eyes and talk face to face. That was a good thing because Dawn has such a lovely face.