Since you are able to read this, you are obviously better off than I am as I write it because you clearly have a working Internet connection. I am writing without benefit of Internet access and no idea when I may be able to post this.
It’s my own fault, really, a reminder to be careful what I wish for. When my sister-in-law reported on Facebook her joy in seeing the sun, and another Facebook friend expressed a wish for “good weather” (meaning sunshine), I foolishly remarked that “good weather” was in the eye of the beholder, as we here were desperate for rain. We’d had no measurable rainfall since early March, and everything was very parched.
I should have bitten my tongue. The weather gods have been toying with us for several days, with late afternoon clouds and even a little thunder, so I wasn’t especially hopeful yesterday afternoon even when several very close claps of thunder blinked the lights a few times. Then the storm started in earnest, with wild winds and slashing rain. We needed a long, soaking rain, but what we got was a violent storm, thrashing the trees, pelting the windows, and yes, ultimately knocking out a major power station. The upshot was 2″ of rain and a power outage lasting two hours and 55 minutes.
Naturally, this happened just as my husband and I were both about to make coffee (and he was going to cook something for lunch). After I’d called the city and learned that the power outage was general (affecting the entire county), he got out the camp stove and boiled water, and I excavated the battery radios and matching batteries, though this was pointless, as the local radio station was off the air, and the weather radio was mechanically reporting conditions across the Southeast and out in the Gulf as if nothing were amiss. So we read and napped till the power came back on almost three hours later.
That would have been a minor inconvenience even if it had gone on longer. The major inconvenience was that, even before the power went out, we lost phone service. This never happens. I can’t tell you how many hurricanes we’ve survived without losing phone service. When I called AT&T on my cell phone (luckily fully charged), I was reassured that someone would be out to see about the problem by 8 p.m. Thursday. Thursday! This was Sunday. Surely that is a worst-case scenario and we’ll actually be restored today (Monday), especially assuming it’s not just us but our entire neighborhood that is out.
Meanwhile, I am being forcefully reminded how dependent I am on an Internet connection. I can go days at a time without making or receiving a phone call, but when my DSL is down, I’m practically at a standstill. When I get up in the morning, I check email, look at Facebook and Twitter, and then spend an hour or so in the Microsoft Answers forums, trying to solve Word users’ problems. Being unable to do that certainly changes my routine.
But it goes much deeper than that: I’m so used to using the Internet as a research tool that I find myself hamstrung at every turn. Writing a letter to my daughter, I frequently encountered questions I’d ordinarily use Google to answer.
And last night, instead of the next couple of episodes of The Tudors, which we’d planned to watch on Netflix (no Internet = no Netflix), we were reduced to watching the first three hours (all we could take in one sitting) of the Kenneth Branagh Hamlet, which we’ve had since September and not previously mustered the energy to watch. I guess I should regard that as a good thing…
Meanwhile, I’m going stir-crazy. I suppose if push comes to shove, I can take my laptop to the library and use the wireless there to check email, read Answers, and publish this!
P.S. I did go to the library, but the Internet connection there was down as well! So here it is Tuesday, still with no phone, and I’m back at the library posting this (I hope).
Update: It turned out that the outage was not in fact general: we were the only household on the street without phone service. We’re guessing that about the time lightning struck a tree across the street it also fried our phone lines and jacks. As the days passed, I concluded that most of AT&T’s crews must be in north Alabama repairing tornado damage. A repairman did finally show up about 1:30 p.m. Thursday and worked till 4:30 replacing lines and jacks and declaring my DSL modem dead. As it turned out, it was not the modem but the wireless router that was nonfunctional; that has since been replaced, so we’re now fully back in business.
One irony, however: When we got Netflix back and settled down to watch Season 1, Episode 9 of The Tudors, we found that Netflix had inadvertently substituted Episode 8, which we’d already seen!