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Santa Maria Sun / Humor

The following article was posted on April 3rd, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 14, Issue 4 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 4

Living through the Dark Age

Flying back to the future without Internet

BY ARIEL WATERMAN

The past two weeks have been dark ones here at Bleak House. What the Dickens happened at our once happy habitat of Waterman Manor? What cataclysmic event could have occurred to bring both a young boy and grown man sobbing to their knees? What turned my hair even grayer in a mere 14 days?

We lost access to the Internet (dun dun DAH)!

Somehow our second phone line, which serves as our fax and DSL Internet connection, was erroneously deactivated. Now wait, you may be pondering, why don’t I use WiFi? Because, folks, I’m a geezer who likes having a secure, dedicated line and uses words like “folks” and “geezer.”

This was all made worse by our Internet company, which serves as our link to everyone and everything on Earth. I’ve been without Internet access before due to various technical issues, but never for more than a few hours. But two weeks? I quickly became aware how dependent we’d become on the little machine on the desk in our study. Suddenly our happily connected little home became Clan of the Cave Bear.

I know you must be asking yourselves: Why no portable devices? Why not bring my laptop to a local coffee shop and work there? Well, I’m going to tell you.

First, there’s the Britween, our grandson, who is more tech savvy than my spouse, the Brit, and me put together. But especially the Brit, who is pathetic to watch as he tries to record British soccer games on the telly (Brit-speak for TV). Britween or I end up doing it for him to stop the weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Because our little man is so very bright (pardon me while I kvell—a nice Yiddish word for grandmothers’ bragging rights), I watch over him like a she-wolf. There are so many dangers for young pups in the Internet forest.

Finally, I’m too old and set in my ways for the coffee shop set. The music is never what I need to free my creative flow, the chatter and constant flow of people distracts me, I can’t wear my jammies and fuzzy slippers, my coffee is way better, and my only laptop is a calico cat named Nellie.

I had to get our DSL back up and running STAT! Britween had school work to complete. My insurance that he finishes his homework and chores is a game called Minecraft. Plus, the Brit is lost without daily access to soccer news and scores, and my online puzzles and mahjong games soothe my menopausal nerves made worse by the whining of a Brit disconnected from the other side of The Pond. Also, I had this column to write and e-mail to my very patient editor.

For these gifts I rely on an omnipotent telecommunications company, which shall remain nameless but not blameless. Their techno-error that disconnected my link to the earth caused two weeks of agitation, tension, and tears. The entire ordeal made me want to reach out and punch someone.

The journey to reconnect our world was like a reversal of Frodo’s journey to Mordor. Instead of destroying the One Ring, I was bent on regaining it. By the end of the ordeal, I was reduced to a wild-eyed, drooling, grasping maniac who wanted my Preciousssss back!

Instead of Minecraft, I braved the Mines of Moria. I faced down horrible orcs, stinking trolls, and soul-sucking wraiths, all disguised as customer service and technical agents. Most of them tried to be helpful but, because they reside not in Moria but in Mumbai, they were unable to fully comprehend my dilemma. And each day I called for an update, I was forced to start over with a new agent, relay my sad tale over again, and hope for a better outcome.

My Gandalf turned out to be an American agent named Zac who, along with my own little hobbit Britween, did in 15 minutes what two high-tech companies could not do in 15 days (I told you our little man was bright!). We were back on line! Oh, happy days! But wait—I had one more dragon to slay.

The Brit had been after me for months to upgrade our cell phones, and this new journey would take me through several circles of hell before we finally attained new phones that broadened our horizons. Britween was also asking for a phone of his own. Husband and I concurred that he was now old and responsible enough to own such a device—with certain parental controls attached, of course.

I was happy with the phones we had, nice little flip designs that made me feel like a Star Fleet officer. But noooo, we have to get all fancy with new devices with touch screens, apps, bells, and whistles. Unfortunately, my own flip-open phone no longer held a battery charge, and for a while we were reduced to sharing one cell phone.

Brit kept it in his pocket, but I took it when driving Britween to school, who then borrowed it later when walking Honey, our shih-tzu. I felt like one of the Graeae, the three blind sisters of Greek mythology who shared one eye, passing it between them. Hey, I wonder if that was the original iPhone?

We are now finally restored to the land of the living, fully connected with higher speed than before and new phones for the Brit and Britween. Me? I kept the Brit’s flip phone because I like its gold trim around a black casing and the way it comfortably fits in my hand. I know it’s outdated, but so many things move too fast for me now. I remember when there were no cell phones and I had to dial tabletop telephones with a pencil to protect my manicure. Besides, I still like to pretend I’m a member of Star Fleet, and my flip phone helps me to make it so.

Ariel Waterman hopes you live long and prosper. Send Star Fleet logs to her patient editor at rmiller@santamariasun.com.