Don’t call my cell – it doesn’t work around here
I’m writing this sentence while waiting for my tablet to access the e-edition of my daily newspaper.
Out here in the boonies, the Internet, like much of the rest of rural life, moves slowly. But the relaxed pace – so pleasant when it comes to observing nature (is that bird turd all over the back of your coat?), interacting with neighbors (is this little shack where you manufacture your meth?) or going about daily tasks (the well pump seems to be broken, the electricity just shut down, and the landline phone is all static) – can be a tad frustrating when it comes to maintaining the appearance of living a normal 21st-century life.
That newspaper still hasn’t loaded. Although, it is amusing to watch that little icon thingie spin in endless circles. Kind of hypnotic, even.
I could go to the store and buy a paper, but the guy who delivers it often doesn’t show up in this sparsely populated neck of the woods until 10:30 or 11 o’clock in the morning. By then, I’ve lost interest, because all I want to do is sit here watching that little booger on the screen turn around and around.
Wait, something’s happening. A message has appeared that says, “Unable to access the requested site due to the fact that you’ve chosen to live in an area serviced by telecommunications technology that appears to have been left behind by pioneers in covered wagons when they decided to move west.
“Please try again later.”
There is, however, a bright side to residing on a cow path far from the access road to the Information Superhighway. Which is: I never have to worry about learning anything new.
Streaming video? At the average Internet speed around here, it would take two and a half weeks to watch an episode of “Breaking Bad.” There’s no way I could endure sitting in front of the TV for hours at a time staring at a frozen frame of Bryan Cranston in his undies.
Skype? For me, it’s just hype. Let the grandkids communicate the old-fashioned way: by showing up in person and whining about how they’d rather be back in civilization with their friends. As for business conferences and the like, if that technology ever arrives here, I’d be willing to participate in them if it’s understood that I’ll be channeling my inner Bryan Cranston and wearing nothing but undies. And maybe not even that much.
Storing data in the cloud? I have no fear of somebody hacking into my cache of porno pics, because in this pastoral setting, the only thing in the clouds is precipitation.
3-D printers? My current 2-D printer spends most of its time doing a reasonable imitation of the proverbial roomful of monkeys banging randomly on typewriter keys. So far, the nearest it’s come to producing the complete works of William Shakespeare is an occasional line that reads, “error message.” I think that’s a quote from “Much Ado About Nothing.”
If I had fast and easy access to high-speed service, I’d no longer have an excuse for not switching my Netflix subscription from DVDs, for not watching my favorite shows on Hulu, for not hooking up a Roku. Or is it a Roomba. I always get those two mixed up, which is why I’ve never finished watching “The Wire” and my house is badly in need of vacuuming.
Hmmm, the e-edition still hasn’t loaded. And I did want to find out how the Red Sox did this past season, at least before spring training starts.
On the bright side, I never have to worry I’m being secretly recorded by some geek wearing Google Glass. I could dance around in my undies for half an hour before any nerdish spy could upload a single pixel. I’m unlikely to get drunk and send photos of my private parts to young women, because by the time the pictures arrived, the women would no longer be young. And I have no fear of making embarrassing Twitter comments while inebriated, because the only tweets transmitted in this bucolic landscape are the ones that come from birds.
I’m not some techno-phobic Luddite longing for a return to simpler times when you couldn’t tell the Amish from everybody else. I just live in the wrong place for these fast-moving times.
Hey, the newspaper is finally loading. But what’s the top story? It says, “We’re sorry to inform you that today’s edition will be the last. We’re going out of business because everybody now gets their news for free on the Internet.”
In addition to staying on the cutting edge of technology, Al Diamon writes the weekly column Politics & Other Mistakes that appears in several Maine newspapers and websites. He’s also the media critic for The Bollard magazine. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.