Saturday, July 11, 2015

Off The Grid

Photo by Walter Henritze

A friend borrowed our cabin for a few days and, as she was amused to report later, her teenage daughter spent a considerable portion of her time there hanging out of the bedroom window with her arm craned out as far as it would go, trying to get reception on her cell phone.

I think you can get reception sometimes when the wind is right and the planets are all in a row if you walk out about a hundred yards and waggle your phone at the highway. You might need to swing a chicken too, I don't know. I don't know how any of this works. I don't know how the internet gets through the plasma in the air or if the cell phone system is vibrating in ether, or, really, which humors are involved at all. Because I don't understand any of it, I don't take it personally. Even at home, I can't count on being able to summon up a given website at a given time. Sometimes it works and sometimes it don't.

But here in the cabin it don't. Guaranteed. We got a land line for emergencies. Like if one of us drops dead, or forgot to water the cat. It's a Princess Phone. It works unless a tree falls over the wires, which does happen kind of often.

This place even has antique air. I don't know what the components of Cabin Smell are, but they surely include mildew, and maybe the aftermath of a mouse social. We bring Pootie up here because he likes to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life as much as anybody, and when he comes back home he smells a little fusty, like the cabin.

But if we decide to come up to the cabin for a few days, we can expect our email to pile up. We can expect voice messages to pile up. There's no way to let people know that we're not responding because we didn't get the message, and not because we're hammered with messages and haven't gotten around to it yet and might never. I put in my blog posts in advance, but what if my commenters suddenly conclude I don't love them anymore because I'm not replying? Can they wait a couple days before dumping me altogether in a snit? I wouldn't have believed it if, 25 years ago, you'd told me one day I'd get fifty letters a day, and a bunch of them would be people wanting me to
Like something. I used to get, like, one letter a year from most people. If I wasn't home to answer the phone, I never even knew it rang, and there was no answering machine. Communication used to have patience built right in.

Now I find myself concerned that some little cyber-snippet has gone unacknowledged. It's fretty.

Pootie is an expressive guy. "Pootie wants to know," Dave will say, as the Poot nods enthusiastically, "if there's any more chocolate." Nod nod nod. "Pootie wants to know," Dave will interpret, "if the basketball game is on." Nod. When we get home, I will press Pootie's head to my nose to inhale that rich, dear, complex aroma of dust and mildew and ferny woods. It makes me happy. Pootie is a great communicator. It's just that he has to be right there with you.

32 comments:

  1. I had to be carried into the latter part of the 20th century kicking and screaming. I was among the last to get a cd player, dvd player, cell phone, computer, and HDTV (our old tv was a huge "portable" that had to have the channel changed with a hemostat, as the dial had fallen off and it didn't come with a remote.). Once I finally caved and got them, however, I wondered how I ever did without these technological marvels. Only recently did we switch to Fios, although they had been bugging me about it for years. To be honest, I don't notice any difference in speed. I still don't have a smart phone and see no need for one as I have a computer at home and don't need to carry one with me when I go shopping or garage saling. Sometimes I even turn off my phone when I nap, or I don't take it with me when I work in the yard. If people call during this time, they seem a little indignant that I didn't answer it, whereas in the time before cell phones, they would have just hung up and tried again later. I don't have a kindle and don't foresee that ever happening, as I depend mostly on used book sales/stores and garage sales for my reading materials. I can get books cheaply, and I like to let The Universe put books in my path that will benefit me or delight me in some way. I know that sounds "woo-woo", but there you go. You'd be surprised how often I find life-changing books in this way, that I would have never thought to seek out otherwise.

    I don't know how any of this technology works either. Waves of invisible energy in the air? Does anyone realize that this sounds just as "woo-woo" as my letting The Universe pick out my reading material? Yesterday's magic becomes tomorrow's science.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That doesn't sound woo-woo. That sounds serendipitous. That's different. I have started buying new books now that I'm aspiring to be an author, out of respect for the writer, but then I usually give them away or set them out somewhere for people to serendipitously find. I don't like to collect books. You know those people (you know who you are) who judge people by the contents of their bookcases? I don't come out so good in those judgments.

      Delete
    2. Even though I'm an avid reader, I only keep the very few books that I may need for reference or that I may reread at some point. I, too, prefer to set the others free to be read by other people.

      Delete
    3. Saya sangat bersyukur atas rahmat yg diberikan kepada saya dibulan ini karna alhamdulillah melalui MBAH RAWAIRE saya sekaran sudah bisa sukses atas nomor yg diberikan kepada saya dan saya yg dulunya cuma seorang TKW dari singapur yg gajinya tidak pernah mencukupi kebutuhan keluarga saya dikampun dan alhamdulillah berkat bantuan MBAH RAWAIRE kini saya sudah bisa pulang kampun,saya bersama keluarga dikampun sudah punya usaha sendiri dan saya tidak pernah menyanka kalau saya bisah seperti ini,jika anda ingin seperti saya silahkan hubungi MBAH RAWAIRE di nomor 085-316-106-111...karna alhamdulillah saya menan nomor togel dari MBAH dan kalau uang indonesia 750 juta,,ini bukan rekayasa dari saya dari IBU RISKA.untuk lebih lenkapnya silahkan buka SITUS MBAH RAWAIRE












      Saya sangat bersyukur atas rahmat yg diberikan kepada saya dibulan ini karna alhamdulillah melalui MBAH RAWAIRE saya sekaran sudah bisa sukses atas nomor yg diberikan kepada saya dan saya yg dulunya cuma seorang TKW dari singapur yg gajinya tidak pernah mencukupi kebutuhan keluarga saya dikampun dan alhamdulillah berkat bantuan MBAH RAWAIRE kini saya sudah bisa pulang kampun,saya bersama keluarga dikampun sudah punya usaha sendiri dan saya tidak pernah menyanka kalau saya bisah seperti ini,jika anda ingin seperti saya silahkan hubungi MBAH RAWAIRE di nomor 085-316-106-111...karna alhamdulillah saya menan nomor togel dari MBAH dan kalau uang indonesia 750 juta,,ini bukan rekayasa dari saya dari IBU RISKA.untuk lebih lenkapnya silahkan buka SITUS MBAH RAWAIRE


      Delete
  2. I do have a rather mixed response to all this open and abundant communication with the world. I am sort of a Thoreau in granny clothes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I find it confusing. If I want to get hold of somebody, I have to search my memory (never a good prospect) to see if they tend to answer text messages, or emails, or voicemails. Because one thing that's happened is we all have many more ways to not communicate now.

      Delete
  3. Don't you rather miss the days of patient communications? Just keep putting your posts in queue. We will visit whether or not you respond to comments, and whether or not we comment at all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh goody! That's what I like to hear. Here's how bad I am. I have an old clunky laptop I haven't replaced yet that I use, mostly, for writing on when I'm away from home. I still haven't rigged it up to receive my email, which would be RIGHT HANDY, because I'm not sure how to go about it. I'm pretty sure it should be able to suck in my email, right? Right?

      Delete
    2. Although it's an old laptop, a reconditioned one, so maybe it will only get old mail, and a little of somebody else's.

      Delete
    3. With my Digital Age skill set it would be quite impossible for me to assess your laptop's ability to receive email. My personal laptop is quite effective at sending frustration and aggravation to me.

      Delete
    4. any laptop is capable of receiving email as long as it is connected to the internet. you just need to set up the email account, same as on your home computer. Or just type in the email provider site you use at home (www. yahoomail or whatever, I think, don't know for sure) and access your email. But you're on holiday, do you really want to be stuck reading emails?

      Delete
    5. Yes I do. Not all of them, not all the time. Okay, I will try it. I don't know, though. This particular laptop looks stupider than everyone else's. And there's all those SMTP questions to answer. And stuff.

      Delete
  4. As my volume of emails increases, I find I am becoming one of Those People who forget to answer emails, usually because I think I remember already doing it. I wish my personal memory space was a tad larger. Or that I could upgrade it as necessary.

    And now I have wardrobe envy again. That Pootie and his cute little clothing :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should see what he picked up this week. OMG. Maybe there will be a picture for you someday.

      Delete
    2. Oh, way to keep me on the edge of my seat!

      Delete
  5. I have an iphone. It was a gift. It is almost always in off mode. Which suits me just fine.
    I am in the process of culling books at the moment. Which hurts. And is slow because I keep picking up books to reread.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just visualized exactly how slow that could be. It's like when Dave tries to start a fire with a newspaper he hasn't read yet. Ain't nobody getting warm anytime soon.

      Delete
  6. Pretty sure it was lifting boxes of culled books that stove in my shoulder.Which meant that, although you readers can't tell, I've been typing two-finger(appropriate!) comments with my non-dominant hand. My land line phone (my only phone) has a funny little chap somewhere inside who will record short messages if I fail to answer. That's about as hi-tech as we get chez Dinahmow

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We've got one of those chaps in our land line too, but he's a major garbler. I can't tell if someone's inviting us for dinner or has a good deal on a credit card.

      Delete
  7. I really had no idea that Pootie had such a long tail.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's one of the better signs that he is a dog, and not a bunny or a bear.

      Delete
  8. I love going on vacation and being offline. But yeah, I do hate facing the hundreds of emails that pile up in my absence ....

    ReplyDelete
  9. It's a lovely little cabin in a pretty area, but, mildew?? Mildew is mould; mould is a health hazard. How can you live with mildew?
    If I had a getaway place, I'd take my version of Pootie too. (Harvey Banana, stuffed monkey)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm unaffected by whatever it is. Might be something else. It's Cabiny.

      Delete
  10. Cell phones don't work at my house because there is a hill between us and the transmitter ten miles away. My computer is 9 years old which makes it about 80 in dog years. While I'm not off the grid, I can see it from here. Not like Sarah what's-her-name can see Russia, though.
    I'm glad Pootie is still living the Good Life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Whoa. You're an antique. If you were a teenage girl, you would have run away from home by now.

      Delete
    2. I am regularly tempted to run away from home, but I'm a chickenshit at heart.

      Delete
  11. Every year I go with my Stitching Sisters to Ross Lake Resort for about a week of sewing, unfettered by technology of cellphones, TVs, etc. We pack in sewing machines, sewing projects, food, books to read, iPods for music, clean undies and whatever we forget, we do without. It's bliss. We should probably sew up an honorary Pootie.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just did an involuntary shudder--Pootie is afraid of needles. So far he's escaped going under the needle, but his best friend Hajerle had face stitchery. We don't even like to think about it. But that sounds like a GOOD WEEK.

      Delete
  12. I still don't have a cell phone!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So that's why you never return my calls.

      Delete