January 23, 2013 —
Am I the only one who misses the old days? It’s no secret that I’m a fan of all things technological, yet (considering the last few days) I now see that my dependence on an electronic connection to the world-at-large has rendered me all but helpless when unforeseen events cause it to crash. I thought I had grasped this during Hurricane Sandy, but that disaster affected millions and I took some small comfort knowing that I was not alone.
With Sandy behind us, I blithely went on about my business until last week, when a snowplow inadvertently severed my lifeline. In an instant, I was hurled backward in the time machine, and left without a phone, a television signal and (oh, the horror!) my beloved Internet connection.
I wasn’t home when it happened, but doubt that would have made any difference. My “service” provider had me under its spell with a bundle I purchased when I took up residence at Green Acres. It did seem like the most economical choice at the time, but I hadn’t considered how a plow could, in a domino effect, cause such an epic failure that left no back-up system in place. Okay, then. First on the list was notifying said “service” provider, who expressed horror at my plight and promised to “get right on it!” Frighteningly, without my computer humming, I was clueless about my schedule and began frantically riffling through loose scraps of paper to find notes I may have jotted down before my electronic existence ceased. Since I had been promised that my problem would be attended to “immediately,” I cancelled my plans for the day (via a quick trip to a friend’s phone) and sat back, waiting for the rescue troops to arrive.
Unconcerned about the future, I made notes, using old-fashioned pen and paper. Remembering that I had a commitment to appear at the seventh annual “Thunder Blood Bowl” (www.crmcny.org ) on the 24th, I scribbled away. Checking a post-it I had attached to a mirror (where I would be sure to see it), I noticed that the event is heralded as “one of the largest blood donor drives held in Sullivan and surrounding counties” and that while Dharma and I would be representing The River Reporter, Thunder 102 (www.thunder102.com ) would be sponsoring the drive at the Monticello Casino & Raceway along with the American Red Cross (www.redcross.org ).
Noticing that several hours had elapsed with no repair truck in sight, I glanced at my watch as a mild sense of urgency approached. “I can’t miss ‘American Idol!’” I shrieked at the dog and wondered why I had not mastered the art of smoke signals while at Camp Arrowhead, lo those many years ago. Promises notwithstanding, seven o’clock came and went and the sun set on another day without cable. Like an idiot, I checked the phone line, which was (duh) still dead, and revved up the truck, determined to find a television signal and my precious vocal contest, which I (sigh) can’t live without.
Ensconced on someone else’s couch, trusty iPad in my lap, I surfed. I read my email and updated my status on Facebook. “I’m experiencing a nightmare,” I wrote, “and am unplugged, up the creek without a paddle. If you need to reach me, you can’t.” I typed and turned my attention to someone wearing a fright wig and singing the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ while twirling a baton.
Before taking my leave, I checked in with the folks responsible for my line repair, and informed them that no one had shown up. “I’m sorry to hear that, sir,” said the operator (who is based in Queens, NY), “but I see here that your account has been ‘red-flagged’ and that help is on the way. They’ll be there tomorrow for sure.”
Friday came and went. After another promise, Saturday bit the dust.
“No service on Sunday,” chirped the operator from Middletown, “and Monday is a holiday, so I’m afraid you’re out of luck.” Having noted that I was due to join the Yarnslingers (like ‘em on Facebook) at Café Devine (them, too) in Callicoon on the 27th, I figured that I still had plenty of time to tweak the piece I would be reading and made note that “Be Mine Forever” was coming up at the Alliance Gallery in Narrowsburg (www.artsalliancesite.org ) on the 26th.
This annual ode to love, which pairs poetry and photography, is a perennial favorite and is on my list, along with the “Look Twice” exhibit ongoing in Livingston Manor (www.catskillartsociety.org ). Day five. No phone, no net, no TV, not a single luxury.
Today, I’m sanguine (look it up!), while jonesing for entertainment. Guess I’ll pretend it’s the Dark Ages and I might actually read a book, but I’m not making any promises.