The other day I sat down in front of my laptop to get a bunch of stuff done. I needed to order a Halloween costume, reserve a book at the library, pay a bill and email pictures to a friend. As I tried repeatedly to get online, I kept getting an error message saying the there was no internet connection. Frustrated, I re-started my Mac, checked the connection – still nothing. I decided that with the 10 minutes left before school pick up, I’ll make a quick phone call and catch the weather on the local news channel – but the phone was dead, as was the TV!
I went into full panic mode. We have FIOS, but I couldn’t even look up the customer service number online! I had to dig through my stack of bills to find the hard copy of the invoice. I called, waited, explained my huge dilemma and was told to take the plug out of the outlet and put it back in. Ta DAAAA. 2 seconds later, we were happily ok – all systems go. I profusely thanked the technician in Pittsburgh and hung up.
Not 45 seconds later, everything shut down again. This time, my panic level increased significantly. I called back and was told a technician would need to come to the apartment. This was at 2 p.m. on a Wednesday. The earliest appointment was 24 hours later. Now, for any person living in the current millennium, the notion of being without technology for 24 hours is simply frightening.
Thank GOD for 3G and DVR. But still – I had recently signed up as class parent and needed to send an email out with attachments…I needed to be online, I felt weird not being able to watch the news live… I just felt out of sorts. My kids picked up on it- they love their websites where they care for monsters and virtual animals and couldn’t understand why we had no access. That evening, I had dinner plans with a friend. When my husband arrived home, I informed him that he would not have access to internet or live TV. He looked at me like I had four heads. He ended up watching a DVD from a decade ago. That hasn’t happened in a while.
The five-hour window I was given for the technician didn’t work with my schedule. I was desperate not to miss the technician, so I gave my doorman my cell number so that he could call me the moment they arrived and I would quickly find a way home. Of course, the call came as I was waiting to gather my kids from school. I frantically asked a friend for a ride home, and we made it within minutes of the technician’s arrival. Within 20 minutes the problem was fixed.
In the meantime, my girls had a tea party in their room – something they have not done a very long time. I actually used the time to WRITE a few thank you notes instead of my usual emails. The panic I felt about being unplugged was disturbing. We’ve become so attached to our devices that the mere though of going without is unsettling. Don’t get me wrong – when everything lit up and was working again, I could barely contain myself. However, being unplugged made me pause and think a little about all the time I spend refreshing, checking, and searching. Maybe just a little too much, when the really important things in life are not connected to an outlet or a network, but right there, alive and in front of me.
Prior to becoming a stay at home mom, Mina was an HR Recruiter for years. Now her time is spent happily juggling the demands of two young daughters while trying to expose them to the endless adventures the city has to offer.
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