The first thing we need is electricity. Without that, nothing works at all. Secondly we need our communication tools – the telephone and internet. Life as we know it springs from those two things.
I live in the woods. The road down here has been paved for less than 20 years and is barely wide enough for two cars. Electricity went in during the sixties, cumbersome wires on towering concrete poles that are now pitched at all angles. During the stormy winter season, we can get several power cuts a week, so the alarm clocks all have reserve batteries so we can wake up in the morning. They seldom last more than a few hours. Unless some poor punter has managed to wrap himself around a power pole and things are a big trickier to fix. But power company trucks cruising up and down the road looking for downed wires are a common winter site. I don’t mind power cuts so much – there’s something charming about lighting candles and we can use matches to light the gas stove or fire if necessary.
Phone outages are a whole ‘nother thing. I’m sure they installed phone lines down here around the same time the electricity went in. But it seems they have never been properly upgraded, meaning we are running our phones and internet on a forty year old installation, meaning the day was fast approaching when they withered and died under the force of one more gale.
That arrived Sunday night. And as the lines dried out, they heaved a final gasp and went kaput!
Yes, I do envy the folks who have wireless internet and who can use mobiles for voice communication. Down here we’ve managed to keep those unsightly transmission towers away – so our reception is less reliable than a tom-cat on the prowl and just as spotty.
When Telecom finally let us know what was going on they told us we would be without phones and internet until end of day on Wednesday, possibly later. But they would transfer all our calls at no cost to our mobiles. (See the previous paragraph.) But how much time do we spend on the phone, anyway?
The real horror is three days without internet! No email, no Facebook, no blogs, no mailing lists, no news, no games, no easy answers to tough questions, no research for my column! Nothing.
Strangely, I did get my column written – I had forgotten how much I actually do know about movies. And when I finally brought my email in, 2/3 of it was offers on how to dramatically increase the size of parts I don’t possess, and the rest was the usual on-line magazine updates I always get. It was a bit of a denouement – though I do have one new friend on Facebook…