Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Connections and Disconnections



A few days ago our family DSL line was disconnected for no reason that we, or the Internet provider, could figure out. DH’s polite phone call to the service center was answered with an equally polite admission of some technical mishap, but sorry-can’t-fix-it. A technician will have to come to the house, and oh, so sorry, the earliest will be a week from now. By the time I’ll post this our connection would have been restored. But I wanted to record this moment. Besides, what else does a writer do?

The experience of a super-wired household losing connectivity is both stressful and illuminating. In the grand scheme this is not even a dot, no dot com either. But holding a flashlight and surveying the situation revealed this picture.
  
Us: two teenagers, one tech-savvy adult, one writer, and a temperamental fluffy cat.
Two teens- flailing, trying to figure out how to do their homework. This is not an excuse. Who knew that high-schools and colleges now assign homework online, and some of it can only be done on the Internet.
DH- feeling not only disconnected, but disrespected. Getting a ‘good deal’ from an Internet provider that turns out to mean lousy service can do this even to the most polite and accommodating. Muttering to self a lot.
Writer- I find myself wondering if there’s a story in this. At least a blog post (this!) for sure. Wondering how many people think I am mad at them or plain cold for not answering their Emails.
Fluffy Cat- she’s faring the worst, absorbing all those irritated-but-holding-it-in vibrations. That is a cat specialty- to sense her humans’ condition.
Something knocked on the door of my memory house. I recall my early childhood in Israel before anyone on our block had a telephone. I’m not that ancient. Most Israelis did not have private phones until the sixties, and even then, the country was wired slowly.
How did we do things then?
Earliest memory: We were the first to have our own telephone, and neighbors lined up at our door to use it. They brought coins to cover our cost, and my mother waved their offerings. What are neighbors for? Everyone wanted to make a call even though there were few who could receive their calls. For a couple of years there was an almost steady line at our apartment door. It was a neighborhood meeting. A block party that went on and on.
This memory, surely distorted by time and glossed over by a polishing cloth of sentimentality, made me wonder: were we less connected then?

17 comments:

  1. Welcome back from being disconnected and you your trip down memory lane!

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  2. So glad you've got internet again! But, as you memory story highlights, connectedness is a relative thing. [pun accidental, but left in intentionally :)]

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  3. Mirka,
    Happy to have you back on line.
    Your reminiscence brought back memories to me of my childhood. We didn't have a phone, but my Aunt Kitty did. Lots of people in the neighborhood used her phone. This situation lasted about six months until the whole community was wired.

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  4. What a beautiful image, people lined up outside your house waiting to call someone, anyone... love that.

    It's such a funny thing losing internet, and realizing how dependent we are on it now for everything. A little scary.... hopefully you at least got some extra writing time in!

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  5. First of all a question: what does DH stand for? (for those that don't know me I plead not living in the US- it must be an Americanism).
    Secondly: I remember those days as well in Israel and it was the 1980's- in a new house - no phone for 6 months. I made a cake in the shape of a phone (phones used to be big, remember) for my neighbors when we finally got a phone connection. The technicians used to be treated like kings. When I offered them coffee they said: "no cake?".
    Hava (sorry to be anonymous, I haven't managed to get my profile accepted by the blog.)

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  6. It's interesting how you see another side of personalities when internet connections aren't available!

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  7. DH in Internet-speak is Dear Husband. You can imagine (if you like what is said about DH) that it stands for Dear Hava...

    BTW, (=That's 'by the way')you can see that you managed not to be anonymous^, DH :)

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  8. I'm stuck back on the kids not being able to do their homework because of no internet. That must be so frustrating for both kids and teachers. AND, a kid can just come to class and say, "Our internet was out," and how can the teacher dispute that? "Go to the library" is not an answer since getting a chance at a computer there is pretty iffy.

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  9. Welcome back to cyber space! I had website/email problems for 6+ weeks this summer, so I can relate a little bit. :P It's amazing how dependent we all are on the internet these days (can't believe there's no off-line homework option for kids - not everyone has $ for a computer & internet).

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  10. Love the story about folks gathering at the door to use the phone. Maybe you can work that into a story...?

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  11. I agree with Ruth: you have to work the first-phone-on-the-block story into your writing somewhere. Although we were less connected in a technological way, we were arguably more socially connected.

    In California, having a private phone line was generally something only rich people could boast in the early sixties. I'll never forget picking up the phone to hear some fascinating argument in full swing -- in Spanish. But in its own way, it was fun -- just like the internet.

    I'm a Luddite: I love it when our electricity is out. I light the stove manually to make popcorn and we have an old crank-up record player. We light candles, play cards, and read books. And for just a few hours, forget we're in the 21st century.

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  12. So sorry to hear about your week. It's very frustrating during these times to be so dependent on technology. But like Mary above, I don't mind being without power if only for the simple pleasures of candles, reading, and togetherness without the modern distractions. As long as it lasts only a couple of hours!

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  13. Funny how lost we are these days without the internet. Glad it's fixed. :)

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  14. Back during Hurricane Irene, I was without power and internet for just over a day and I was going crazy. I hate feeling disconnected from the online writing community, and I can't even begin to explain what my email inbox looked like when I finally go into it.

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  15. I often wonder the same thing. Are we more connected now that we have email, twitter, facebook, etc, but don't even know most of our neighbors? I remember growing up when my mother would send me next door to borrow eggs, or up the street with a skein of yarn for the neighbor who crocheted matching ponchos for me and my sisters. I can still bring to mind a name and a face for most everyone in that neighborhood.

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  16. I hope you called the phone company and asked for a credit for the time offline. It should be worth around $15 and change. I speak from experience...

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  17. For me without the internet, my days is not complete its annoying...

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