Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Wednesday's Words, by Morgan Ashbury

I never knew how totally connected I was, and how dependent on said connection, until yesterday when I awoke to discover I wasn’t connected at all.

To the Internet, that is.

At first, I didn’t worry over much. We’ve lost the Internet before. There was a fresh layer of snow on the ground, and I figured I could blame the weather for this minor inconvenience. I knew the drill. Our television would be working, but not the Internet (the same company provides both). I wouldn’t be able to answer any emails on my phone, either, because my ISP provider was also my cell phone provider.

I could wait it out. I was patient. I could still write, I didn’t need the Internet for that. I’d be fine.
Then my phone dinged, letting me know I had a new email—but my computer was still not online. My phone’s email has always been down when my Internet is down. I began to consider that maybe, something else was wrong.

So I called my ISP. I was pleased that I didn’t have to wait any time at all to listen to an automated voice tell me all the steps I should now take to solve the most common connectivity problems before going any further in this call.

I was briefly reminded of that old, funny bit about the computer user on the phone to tech support about why their computer wasn’t working at all, and no, they were unable to see the back of the tower to verify the cords were plugged in when asked, because the electricity was out and there was no light.

I listened and took note, until the disembodied voice told me I had to unplug my modem, wait thirty seconds, and plug it back in. Sadly, this would require me getting onto the floor under my desk and then somehow getting back up again. I generally ignore my limitations, but there are circumstances under which I cannot, and this was one of them. I was given the option to speak to a real person, and this I did. Within a few minutes, he had verified that my modem was indeed working, and as far as it was concerned, I was online. Then he asked me if I had a third party router. I do indeed, and he advised that the router was likely the problem. All I had to do was....you guessed it. Unplug it, wait thirty seconds, and plug it back in. This would reboot the router.

The router is on the floor, under my desk, beside my modem.

I thanked the man for his assistance, and texted my daughter. She replied that she would drop in around one o’clock to do that little thing for me.

That was a relief. It was only a few hours until she could make her way here to manually reset my router. I had an edit to complete, which I could work on without the Internet. Surely, those few hours would pass quickly.

Here’s the funny part, at least to me. I knew that one way or another, before too much time passed, I’d be back online. But I felt like a smoker who’d just quit, cold turkey.

Actually that’s not really accurate. I was a smoker who’d quit cold turkey some 13 years ago. This was much worse. This was horrible. I felt alone, cut adrift in the world, just another older person trapped inside my house as the snow came down, inch by freezing inch, and the clock ticked ever so slowly. For the first time in a long time, the silence of my house got to me. I reminded myself I could play my iTunes, and since I have more than 650 songs in my iTunes library, which is on my computer, I would be fine. After five minutes of listening to music on low volume, I turned it off. I can’t edit and listen to music at the same time, apparently.

Then my daughter texted that she’d be by when she brought her daddy home—at about 5:15. My few hours without service was stretching out to be the entire day. I thought about a news item I’d seen online the other day about the danger and threat of solar storms, and how a super burst of energy from the sun could cripple our technology, all of it, for decades! I shivered as I realized I was getting a tiny personal glimpse of what this would be like.

I went for my nap at my usual time, grateful the next hour or so would seem normal to me. We were having beef ribs for supper and I thought, as I was getting up from my nap, that I would make a homemade honey garlic sauce to go with. I’d just look that recipe up on line....

Fortunately I had written it out and put it on my computer in my “recipe” file. But I couldn’t print it out because my printer is a wireless one!

Thankfully at 5:15 my daughter arrived. After several attempts to reboot the router, she informed me it was dead—likely of old age. My computer is now directly linked to the modem, so I, at least, am online. And as soon as I finish publishing this essay, I am calling my ISP for an upgrade. I really do need a modem/router combo unit. And while I’m at it, a small table it can sit on, so it won’t be on the floor under my desk.

I guess that’s what I get for not keeping up with the times.

Love,
Morgan

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