Both my phone line and Internet suddenly went dead yesterday. I’d spent most of the morning emailing and then stopped to put dinner in the crockpot, something I should’ve done earlier. When I returned to the computer I couldn’t get to any website on the Internet. Then the ISP reboot menu popped up. But rebooting didn’t work this time (It has before). I picked up the phone. Dead. So were the extensions. So I panicked.
I felt like I was living a version of the new TV series Revolution but the electricity, gas, and water continued to function. Some of you may know I don’t have a cell phone. I refuse to be plugged in 24/7 and on a practical level I cannot afford the high cell phone rates charged in Canada.
I don’t remember the phone service being cut off for any reason when I was a child. Ever. Even during the big electrical blackout of 1965 on the northeast coast of the United States and going into Ontario, the phones worked. That was back in the grey ages when everything wasn’t electrical. Fast forward to the big blackout in Ohio and Ontario in August 2003 and my phone still worked – providing I used the “old fashioned” wall phone in the kitchen. If I had tried the electrically-connected phone in my home office, then I might have disconnected the phone service.
The situation gets weirder. I ran to my friend’s across the street (the one next door wasn’t in). Maybe just as well as the one across the street has the same telephone service provider as I do and next door doesn’t. The former’s phone worked fine and I booked a technician to come and fix the service for later yesterday.
I returned home to more weirdness. The Internet was now working. Okay. But so were the phones. (I have a DSL service which splits the Internet and phone service so if one is down the other usually isn’t). So I had to contact the phone company repair again to say – “It’s working.” But I requested the technician come anyway to check all the wires. They complied because I have phone care warranty. An hour or so later someone else called me from the phone company to say that all was working and they were cancelling the tech call. No. No. No. I went into my concern blurb and the phone care. This person said it could be one of their roving (as in a vehicle) repair people stopping to fix something and that would shut off the service for an hour or so. I’m supposed to guess that this is what happened? I’ve had phone disruptions/problems twice before in the past year and a half so I take no chances. When the tech person arrived and checked it out he found some bees in the phone box outside (he chased them out) and a frayed wire which he fixed. Scary stuff especially as I was stung three times by insects this summer.
The whole situation makes me think…again. I believe in conserving my use of utilities, but not to the point where I’m left in silence in the dark. That situation, or even partial situation, sends me into a big panic. Being an only person here doesn’t help…at least for moral and emotional support. However, no matter how many people are around when a utility stops working, the bottom line is you are isolated. Some people may want to go out and congregate with a lot of others. I tend to go out to get help only if I can’t phone for help. And stew and steam about it until it is fixed. That part comes from being alone.
Another thought: have we as a society become so wrapped in too much technology that when it goes it affects us more than say during the 1965 blackout? (I didn’t panic then. But I was a teenager at home with my mother; it actually happened while we were in a grocery store.) Has too much technology too fast doomed everything (appliances, computers, phones, sound systems, utilities, etc.) to a short shelf life filled with snafus and bumps along the way?
Sharon A. Crawford
Only Child Writes