Sunday was such a gorgeous day. Grey and overcast, a delicious breeze and the high never even reaching seventy. The smell of impending rain filled the air. My kind of day. The kind of day that makes me want to plant my rear in my chair and pound away on my keyboard. So, my first thought when I got home from lunch with my sweetheart? “First email, then Facebook, then I write the afternoon away.”
Then I remembered. No internet.
First let me say, I am not a fan of change of any kind. When I get comfortable with something, I settle in and I stay there. I don’t change willingly and never without a lot of kicking, spitting, biting, and screaming. So when I tell you we’d been with the same phone company for more than twenty years and had our internet service with them for nearly that long, suffice to say, this is the truth. Did I like it? Well for a good long time, yes. It was just enough for my husband—who had only signed on to play PopIt!—and me with my classes and such.
Then the children grew up. By the time they got into high school there were some nights we had three computers going at once—usually after dinner because I demanded we have one meal together, at the same time, in the same room. By college, well, dinners together still happen occasionally, but my son, the recluse, usually spends his time off somewhere, working, tricking (that’s a form of parkour and obstacle course free-running, not what it used to mean), or playing video games in his room. The internet, however, spent its time breathing hard from trying to accommodate all of us on at the same time. My husband has discovered that he can play his games online, and now pays bills and balances his checkbook online as well. That’s huge people.
Add to all that, we all have cell phones now, so our landline which we needed in order to have internet service was an expensive waste of money for something we never used. The only time it rang was when solicitors would call at the crack of dawn explaining to me that they were exempt from the No-Call list because we used to have Sears/JCPenny, Macy’s/fill-in-your-favorite-credit-card-company, and since those big companies have hundreds of smaller companies, they’re allowed to call us, because whateverthehell company they belong to still considers us customers. Isn’t that nice?
So, with less violence than I expected, I decided to find an internet company that didn’t require a landline. Enter one who shall remain nameless. Word of advice: If you are offered a bang up deal but it includes a data plan, RUN! When they tell you that 10GBs a month will be more than plenty of data for a family of four adults who are constantly on the internet for one reason or another, call them bald faced liars. We were doing great for two weeks, then the data report shot from “You are within your expected data use” to “You have exceeded your expected use. Would you like to buy some more? But don’t forget, you have 10GBs of bonus data that’s good from 2-6 am.”
Needless to say, we’re changing again…NO violence this time. But until then…unless I want to get up in the middle of the night, I have no internet. I was cut off from the world. I couldn’t send emails, I couldn’t get emails, I can’t reach anyone on FB or keep up with anything that’s going on—
Smart phone!!! I can do all that on my cell phone! Thank you, Jesus!
Okay. At that point, I realized something about myself, and it wasn’t pretty. I. Am. Spoiled. Not just spoiled, but ridiculously so. I can’t go a week without Facebook? I can’t take a few minutes out of my idiotically busy days (I don’t have my own schedule—I live by everyone else’s) to call my sisters or my best friends? Apparently not. Though, I do call them almost daily, it’s usually using my cell phone in the car with the speaker on.
Whenever I am off from the house and I discover I’ve forgotten my phone, my heart starts racing and my eyes immediately go to the “check engine” light and the “you’re out of gas, idiot” light. I have the overwhelming urge to pull over and check my tires. I mentally figure out where everyone is and what they’re doing, and remember that my husband got me a cell phone because there’s no such thing as phone booths with actual working phones in them anymore. What if I get in an accident? What if someone gets hurt or sick? How will I know? How will they get in touch with me? Not to mention, if they try to get in touch with me and can’t, what will they think? We’re talking bordering on panic attack.
After my freak out, no matter how far away I am, I turn myself around, drive back and get the phone, then start over again. That can’t be normal. Normal people don’t do things like that.
What happened to the farm girl I used to be? The one who would go off for hours some fifteen acres from my backdoor, and write? I never worried about how I was going to let anyone know if I got bit by a snake, or fell out of the tree I was sitting in with my pens and notebooks, or became trapped up in that tree by one of the wild boars I never saw, but everyone claimed were in the woods. I just trekked out there with a big stick and one of our dumber-than-dirt dogs—they’d have been no help at all—climbed the tree and sat on the branch bent into the shape of a four by one of Georgia’s famous ice storms, with my back against the trunk and my feet against the bend. I’d get lost in the words until I noticed it was getting dark, then trek back to the house. No cell phone. No Bat signal. Just me and a big stick, a denim tote made out of the leg of an old pair of jeans filled with my writing, and a dumb dog.
It’s sad to lose one’s innocence. To know what dangers lurk, and be so afraid of having to resort to big stick thinking that you turn around and go back for a little 2×4 piece of technology.
Still, I managed to get more words on pa—screen than I have in weeks. The weather is beautiful and fall’s on the way. I had a lovely lunch with my husband. My daughter called to see what time she needed to wake her brother for work. I talked to two of my best friends. And my son called me to let me know he got to work okay and to tell me he loved me.
Okay, I’m spoiled. I freely admit it, but maybe this technology thing isn’t all bad. Oh, and we get new internet service…without a data plan…on Friday. Yeah, baby!
Time to make the soup…