Something tangible is missing. Something the mind is used to hearing; grown accustomed to register. The computers are down. The internet is dead. Those miniscule, squeaks and clicks and whirrs of hard-drives, email notifiers, and other electronic digitalia that we hear but seldom notice, are suddenly deafening by their absence.
The Illinois ice-storm not only devastated power lines throughout the State but knocked-out, more surely than any terrorist’s bomb, the cable networks supplying TV and broadband internet access. For those of us utilizing the latest web-based phone technology, the phone lines are effectively out as well. For many, such matters are of little importance. Most of the area still has no power, and temperatures are down in single figures.
Here at “Sparrow Chat” the lights are back on; the furnace is generating a toasty seventy-five degrees. Four days ago that was all we wished for. Stuff the internet; who needs TV anyway? Given the strange nature of Homo sapiens, however, we consider it natural once the necessities of heat, light, and food are satisfied, to demand the less life-threatening, but to our singular brains, equally essential items we are used to. Access to the internet, and TV news – however much we may criticize it when we have it – becomes vital to our normal functioning. Without it we are prone to stalk the house, mutter unintelligibles and snap belligerently at any suggestion this might be a good time to catch up on neglected reading matter, fix the squeaky doorknob in the bathroom, or – heaven forbid! – go do the Christmas shopping. Being reminded that less than a hundred years ago such electronic gadgetry never existed, and having a good time meant gathering round the piano in the parlor to sing hearty ballads and rousing Christian hymns, is not conducive to cooling tempers after the umpteenth cell phone call to the cable company elicits only more vague promises, and “as soon as possible” seems a suitable synonym for “eternity”. My response that a) we don’t have a parlor; b) we have no piano, and c) the last time I picked up my guitar you likened my singing to the night our next-door neighbor’s cat got its tail caught in a rat-trap, only produces the rejoinder, “You’ve become very difficult to live with, recently.”
Difficult to live with? Me? Where’s that darned cell phone? I’m going to ring the cable company again. Damn me, it’s dead! When was the last time YOU charged this thing?
Difficult to live with, indeed! Blah!
Filed under: Ice storm