Monday, February 23, 2009

That 70s Show

No answering machines. And no call waiting. No Caller ID. No compact disk recorders or laser discs or holography or cable television or MTV. No multiplex cinemas or word processors or laser printers or modems. No virtual reality. No grand unified theory or Frequent Flyer mileage or fuel injection systems or tubor or premenstrual syndrome or rehabilitation centers or Adult Children of Alcoholics. No codependency. No punk rock, or postpunk, or hardcore, or grunge. No hip-hop. No Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome or Human Immunodeficiency Virus or mysterious AIDS-like illnesses. No computer viruses. No cloning or genetic engineering or biospheres or full-color photocopying or desktop copying and especially no facsimile transmission. No perestroika. ....No Tiananmen Square.... … the Energy Crisis was getting underway. (from The Ice Storm by Rick Moody)

I came across this passage this week, and it really made me think. I had a lot of thinking time this week because my internet was wonky and would not stay connected for more than 10 seconds at a time … if I was lucky.

When I wasn’t thinking, and pacing, watching the modem to see if all the lights would ignite at once, I ate an entire box of Twinkies!!!!! Ten Twinkies over a 5-day period, and I don’t even like Twinkies!

So, yeah, there was stress, and I’m not very good when my wheels are spinning and there is stuff I would like to get done!

My nonexistent cable internet meant I couldn’t work, or not so much, or not to the level I usually would in a week’s time. I could only do work that could be done off-line, and then I hoped for a connection at the point where there was a deadline and I had to “send.”

I wasn’t up for struggling with any iffy wireless options, chasing around town with my laptop. I didn’t feel like sitting at a coffee shop or the campus library without all the “stuff” I needed in, around, under and throughout my desk.

I haven’t bought a “card” yet with the hope of a satellite connection on days when there is no cable internet, and since my cell dies out in my basement office space in the hilly glacial area where I live, that "card" would prove useless most times as well.

So I was in a fix, and getting kind of pissed.

I mostly sat and stewed and lived through “plugging and unplugging the modem” which is what the cable tech guys have you do for DAYS!

We replaced our modem, our wireless units and our splitters!!!! on one of the rare days where Mark was home and could run to Best Buy due to my suicide attempts.

On that same day, after all the replacements, a goddess on the cable company's tech support desk said to Mark, “Yeah, I can see where you modem connection has been falling off line repeatedly for a great length of time.”

Yeah, I know, for like months now!

[insert a choir of singing angels here!]

Then the sky opened up and she sent a cable man out in his huge cable truck, THE VERY ..NEXT.. ..DAY..!!!!!! and on the coldest day of the year, this man rooted around in our backyard, pulled up cables and gave me an elite connection.

Seems, at some point in the recent past, and how could I have missed this, three additional lines were hooked to our connection, all causing a drain.

The cable guy was all like, “The norm is two on a connection …” and for a moment I was all far more superior than the other three houses that were just “surfing the net."
So, I said to Mark, “You’ve got to do something!”

He told the guy, “Dude, her home office is a dead deal without a strong connection,” and the angels sang again, and the guy unhooked everybody else, bundling three of them together on a connection, and leaving ours/mine alone. Singular, elite, one mega-strong connect that will hold and hold and hold some more!

(Probably, Mark really said, “Dude, I am not going back in that house unless you get her a solid connection. She ate my Twinkies!!!!!!!”)

Either way, it was done. So it shall be written. So I can work again.Woot!

The clouds sucked the cable guy back up into the heavens, or back to Hwy 167 since he said he actually “lived close by.”

And I went back to work this weekend (starting Friday night) in order to make up for 4+ days of “disconnect.”

So .... all of this had me thinking of the 70s, when as noted above by Rick (fabulous!!!!) Moody, we had none of these things and feeling "disconnected" meant you couldn’t call your best friend in the next village because it was a long distance toll call, and on summer vacations you wrote letters to each other even though you only lived a 15-minute drive away!..

...Oh my aching … how far we have come!
We now have coffee makers with timers and all manner of other ...


candy said...

wow, the rick moody quote is pretty intense. makes you wonder why we are compelled to mess with everything.

Having time to think is scary... I'm constantly trying to get away from myself. When I eventually catch myself, that thinking that I've been so frightened of is actually good... it's weird (anyway.)

Lol about the twinkies... 'suicide by twinkie consumption' is a new one... and reminds me of sissy spacek (sp?) in crimes of the heart!

I'm so glad that your angel cable guy fixed your shit... because I missed you...

btw, are those pics of you?

(Bit of a disjointed comments, but I was reading and commenting per paragraph.)

Anne Cunningham said...

I'll have to disjointedly comment back ...

I love the Moody quote. Whenever I leave my office, I grab a book off the shelf even if I've read it already, and I read it gong up the stairs, while I get my coffee, flip through it while I pee (there I said it!). At week's end, I have to collect all the books I've been flipping through and put them back. The Moody quote same at such a great time, when I was pacing. And I feel the same way. Why did we mess with things, but also grateful in so many respects taht we did. I love being able to have my grown kids at my fingertips!

I agree, having time to think is scary. I'm forever trying to get out of my head, but it's an impossible maze.

I love "Crimes of the Heart!" I can't believe I didn't think of that myself while I was cramming them down my throat! I bought a new box to replace them, but everytime I see it on the kitchen counter, I have to do that, "I can't believe I ate the other ones!"

The cable guy is in the will.

The pictures are both of me, one from prom in the 70s (don't have many old pics ... long story)and one recent one with me and one of my giant coffee cups that could one of these days knock my front teeth out!

... a bit disjointed, but that was fun!!!!!