Sunday, September 1, 2013

Unexpected Disconnect

Love them or hate them, it seems like almost everyone has a cell or mobile device for calls and texting these days.

I've never had the desire to own a cell phone. They are far too small for me to even see decently. Heck, I have enough trouble navigating my mp3 player let alone trying to figure out how to make a call or text on a cell!

I only switched to a cordless home phone about 3 years ago. Luckily, it came with talking caller ID and I can dial it without visual aids - but I do have to wear my special reading glasses or at least use a magnifying glass to read the display screen. It took a while to get used to it, but admittedly, It is a nice convenience to be cordless and the speaker phone function works quite well. The phone came with an answering machine system built into the main dock so at least I don't have to pay my phone provider for a message box.

With rare exceptions, there is nothing that important that people can't leave me a message or send me an email.

However. there was an incident about a year ago that a cell would have come in handy though.

One Saturday morning, I was doing some research online in between doing some baking. I'd been using the computer sporadically all morning and went to check another page. I got the dreaded "webpage can not be displayed"! HUH? I checked a couple other pages and same thing. I then realized that the little icon symbol for my connection (in the bottom right hand corner of my screen) was showing an error.

Okay, maybe a cord had come loose. I reluctantly crawled under the desk and checked all the cords. Nothing was wrong. I picked up the phone to call my service provider and .... NO signal! I then checked the cable - it was also gone!


Time to check with my neighbours to see if they had service. 

My neighbor, across the hall, had full service so I used her phone to call my provider. After waiting on hold for a few minutes - then explaining the situation, I was told they would try to fix it from their end. If not, someone would be out later that day or Sunday morning. I left my neighbours number in case they needed to contact me. I also made it clear to them that the front door intercom system of our building was connected to the phone so they wouldn't get any answer if they tried to buzz my apartment.

Back in my apartment, the only connection I had with the outside world was my radio.

It was an odd feeling to be so out of touch. No phone, internet or cable.

It is one thing to be away from your devices by choice. I've gone away on day trips, weekends and even my trip to Mesa - all without my computer. Okay, I've taken my mp3 and Kindle on overnight trips - even though they aren't connected to the internet - so I did have some technology with me.

However, this was different. To have them sitting right in front of you and not be able to use them is disconcerting to say the least.

I had intended to do a fair bit of research that weekend but without internet, that really wasn't going to be possible. With the baking in progress, I couldn't head out to the library either. Instead, I spent the rest of the day working in my kitchen, doing a bit of writing, listening to the radio and reading a mystery novel. It was okay, but just not how I had planned or wanted to spend it.

Sunday morning dawned with still no service. I did see a service truck in front of our building about 11 but the guy left shortly after he arrived. I checked with my neighbour and she'd heard nothing from them.

I used her phone to call my provider and was told .. wait for it ... that the guy had buzzed my apartment but no one answered so he left!

Well duh!! Of course no one answered! I reminded them that the intercom is connected to the phone service! Apparently the guy hadn't noticed that on the report! They were able to reach him by phone and he came back. 

Turned out I wasn't the only one with issues in the area. There were several people with the same problem. The repair guy eventually found the problem and service was restored by early afternoon. But you really have to wonder about a service guy who doesn't clue into the intercom and phone being linked!

Similar situations of unexpectedly losing service, have also happened to friends of mine - One lost all service for three days and another for four! It truly is a shock to the our systems to not have our normal ways of communicating. We were all in withdrawal to some degree and feeling like we were missing something in the real world.

As it turned out, I hadn't missed a lot in the 26 hours I'd been without service. I'd listened to the news on the radio so I knew the world was still out there.

I had, however been missed! If I'm going to be away for more than a day, I usually let at least a couple friends or family members know in case of emergency.

When I finally got online again, I had at least four messages from friends and family - wondering where I was. Why was I AWOL? If I wasn't home, why wasn't my answering machine on? Why hadn't I told them I'd be away? Why hadn't I played my turn on some online games?

I wasn't absent by choice - and a little disconnect for whatever reason is a good reality check for how dependant we have all become on technology.

As much as I missed my technology, I still don't want a cell phone - but it sure was nice to be missed!!


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