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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The End of the World (and I feel fine)

We lost our Internet connection Monday night. At first it seemed to come and go; a page would open and then it wouldn’t. But eventually there was that frustrating and annoying error message for every site we tried. Ugh. It wasn’t until the next night that we realized our telephone land line was out too.

At first I thought maybe we’d forgotten to pay our bill. How embarrassing. But that wasn’t it. It was some technical problem, and when we FINALLY (via cell phone) got through to a live person who was the RIGHT live person, we learned we’d have to wait until the next day for a technician to come to our home.

Dang! We were going to be without Internet access for another whole night. Off the grid.

And just when I planned to work on my blog! Oh, alright, I probably would have spent the time doing on-line Christmas shopping. But Scott and Sage each had more pressing needs: Scott was supposed to submit his grades for the college class he teaches, and Sage was supposed to research facts about New Jersey.

What a drag. What an inconvenience. It sucks to be disconnected. However, it was an interesting reminder about how much we really do depend on technology.

And, boy, do we spend a lot of time on the Internet. I mean, between the three of us and our three shared screens (desktop, laptop, and TV that plays Netflix), not to mention our two smart phones, we are almost always connected—watching something, researching something, communicating through Facebook or email or text, reading the news, checking the weather, looking up something or other just because we can…such as, does “keister” really mean “butt”? (This was Sage’s new favorite word this week.)

Yikes, listing out all this cyber-time makes us sound so DIS-connected from one another.  Honestly, we do have a lot of non-screen time in our house too. But the point is, when the World Wide Web isn’t available, it’s a noticeable loss.

Of course, with our smart phones, we weren’t entirely disconnected these couple of days. We could still communicate across the ethers, and we could still access instant information thanks to the almighty, all-knowing Google. Now… if we had lost our cell phone connection as well—ooh, that is just too scary to contemplate.

But maybe we should contemplate it.

With the upsurge in natural disasters and extreme weather events, we’d be wise to remember that technology isn’t infallible. Power can and does go out on occasion, as our friends and family affected by the hurricane in New York know all too well.

(Which reminds me, does anyone have any experience with solar chargers? I’ve been thinking that a solar-powered cell phone charger sounds like a really good idea.)

Actually, I know there's probably quite a lot I should do by way of emergency preparedness. I so admire my blogger buddy Deb over at small house, big picture, who can garden and can like nobody’s business. It is smart to stock up, and it’s responsible to plan ahead and learn some self-sufficiency. I’m seeing a New Year’s Resolution in my future….

Speaking of the future, you may have heard that some folks think there won’t be one. All this Mayan Apocalypse talk might as well be the Zombie Apocalypse, as far as I’m concerned, it’s such a ridiculous joke. (Except it’s not so funny when kids are seriously scared.) But if anyone’s worried that the end of the world might really be nigh (nigh?), they should check out this helpful factsheet from the SETI Institute.

On the real side, however, our world IS totally changing. Climate change and resource depletion and other such grave problems are leading us to one catastrophe after another, and that is truly scary. However, freaking out or wallowing in the gloom won’t help a thing. What will help is to join the movement towards a sustainable future. A great place to start is to check out Birth 2012.  This is a movement that is celebrating our potential to evolve and move out of crisis and into a new era that is healthy, sustainable, and peaceful.  Here's a short video to get you all inspired and fired up.

Anyway, I'm very glad to be connected to, and through, the Internet again-- and also glad I had the reminder not to take it for granted.  There's so much opportunity, with just a few clicks, to learn and become involved with people all over the world.  See you on the other side!

1 comment:

Deb said...

hi jennifer,
somehow this post got lost in my blog feed and i never saw it. thanks for the shout out!

it's true we have become so dependent on the internet. NPR had an hour devoted to this yesterday. one of the guests was a journalist who gave up the internet for a year to break his dependence. he had just a few weeks left. can you imagine?! i'm not up for a year, but I agree it's not such a bad thing when the power goes out and reminds us of both our need for electricity and our need to conserve it!