The Great Canadian Meltdown

No, I’m not talking about the thaw of the raging winter that’s thankfully past us. That is long gone. We are now in the midst of the type of unkind, sweltering heat that requires one to bring extra napkins on errands to wipe away sweat from the under boobage (not me complaining, #blessed). No, last week, a lot of us in the north saw the end of the world sooner than we anticipated.

Living this pandemic for 2+ years you would’ve thought our collective resilience was stronger than ever, at least I thought mine was.

Masking again? Sure.
Another round of lockdowns? Okay..
Cancel Christmas for the second year in a row? Fine…

I had grown thick skin to this sort of curveball; always at the ready for another disappointment around the corner and a line drive to the face. But perhaps this meltdown was the last straw, and our camel backs were weakening. The very thing we all relied on during this pandemic to keep us connected and sane was the one thing that decided to crap out on us. And crap the bed it did.

I woke up Friday morning without any connection to the real world ether. There was a millisecond of panic, but I told myself it was likely our home internet that was the problem. I told myself to get ready for work, then I’d call my husband from the train to get him to contact our network provider. Everything was going to be okay. All would be okay!

I boarded the train ready to sink into my morning routine of games (Moviedle, Heardle, Cladder and Wordle) when my phone came up lifeless. As hard as I pressed and as often as I tried, my phone refused to connect. I peeked over at my neighbour who was contentedly watching a YouTube video, signifying to me that this was a me-problem.

Once I got into work, that’s when I logged onto my computer to see the announcement that most of Canada was off the grid. We were at a complete standstill and there was no end in sight. Would this be a few hours? Would it be 8 hours? Could it be 24 hours? There was no way to tell and little information was being shared.

The domino effect of this nationwide outage was becoming increasingly clear as our day-to-day functioning was crippled by the lack of connection. Not only were customers of the Canadian Rogers network not able to connect (phone, text, email, maps, television, and home internet), businesses were having to circle back to ancient practices. Cash was king as Interac payments were no longer options, ATMs were out, and apps we readily relied on to order coffee and groceries were dead. And even worse, those most vulnerable (elderly, infirm and living alone) could not reach emergency services in the event of a crisis. We were living a distorted reality, and I, for one, was going mad.  

How was I affected? Let me count the ways (in order of importance):

  • No calls, emails, text messages
  • No access to work portal for email and Teams
  • No access to hospital portal for medical appointment information and results
  • No e-books
  • No blog access
  • No YouTube
  • No maps
  • No games
  • No Starbucks app

My feral sister had to run over to her neighbour’s place to request use of their landline. I got a call at work from a number I didn’t recognize. The familiar, although breathless, voice on the other line sounded frantic. “It’s me, I had to borrow Ana’s phone!” It was good to know my sister was still alive and kicking it. She wanted to confirm we were still on for lunch the next day. She reminded me to print a map of our outing destination and to bring cash in the event we would still be living under siege. We even made a contingency plan for us in case we missed each other at the meeting point.

Her: I will be leaving at 10am. I will meet you there at 11am.
Me: Okay. If I don’t see you by 11am, I will stay there forever.

The spoiled, entitled part of me is baffled at how we ever survived without mobile phones. I am so glad to have grown up during that era, though. A bit of struggle never hurt nobody, and it makes me appreciate the conveniences we now enjoy so much more.

What do you think, are we too dependent on our devices? What do you use your phone for?

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50 thoughts on “The Great Canadian Meltdown

  1. My phone itself is calendar, watch, alarms, checking bus times, tickets, ebook. I do have an iPad that I use for those things plus games, email, blog and general surfing. Not having ebooks would crush me

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I recently (before this happened to Canada
    ) wrote a blog post (that won’t be posted for a couple off weeks) about how we’re all way too attached to these things. At my farm… I don’t have internet and barely get cell reception. So if this happened in the United States, besides heading into to town to call and see how my son is doing at my mom’s… I wouldn’t notice 🤣😆. Looking forward to posting what I wrote. I am considering posting it today in exchange for my vacation one. I’m not sure!

    Liked by 3 people

    • A few weeks back we had a long power outage followed by a longer internet outage. We, too, wrote about it, to get some of the frustration, the heat, the revelations out of our system. It turns out that in 3-digit weather, not having air conditioning might have worked a century ago, but we now crave it. And as it grows darker, without light, refrigerator, e-entertainment (books, shows, etc.), there’s less to do nowadays than there was … before?

      Liked by 2 people

      • I think internet and no electricity are two different things 😆. That being said… we ALWAYS keep a generator on hand for those kinds of emergencies too! I definitely don’t feel like there’s less to do now- a-days but maybe that’s because I have a farm. I garden, I have pens to clean, eggs to collect, veggies to harvest, and about a million house projects and fencing projects to do. There’s also fishing, hiking, hunting, canoeing, wood to chop and season, my horse could use exercising, my kid could use extra help with school and reading we can tackle too! If anything to me there are SO many more things that are a better use of my time than sitting on the internet all day or watching movies all day. Sometimes I feel guilty for taking time off to relax when I could be knocking stuff off of our list. This autumn our biggest project is building a greenhouse and a cut flower stand for me as well as importing bulbs to invest into my cut flower farm. WHEW! There’s A LOT!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • That is a longggg list of chores! Yes I am sure if I lived on a farm I’d feel the same way! A lot of ppl in the city (not all but a lot) tend to depend on technology to connect with others so I can see something like this being nice for a few hours maybe but for plenty of others it can be a lifeline that helps them feel a little less isolated and alone. That being said, I was just ticked off I didn’t have access to all my stuff during that time and had to revert back to this modern age’s version of “snail mail” which is e-mail LOL I had an email thread going all day with my closest friends and sisters lol

        Liked by 1 person

      • An e-mail thread is a fabulous work-a-round!!
        I really need to do a post about my garden this year because it’s incredible (not the veggies though that garden is doing well too… but I have a massive cut flower garden). I’m so insanely proud of it and while my chore list is extensive… it’s beyond worth it. So the week after this coming week, I’ll show it off on my blog! 💪

        Liked by 1 person

      • yes and it’s like that adage… once you have it, you now know what you’re missing! Ppl a hundred years ago didn’t know what they didn’t know lol but now we know! We know YouTube, we know movies, we know e-books, we know WhatsApp, we know convenience! 🙂 It was tough!

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  3. We seemed to survive w/o all these electronic connections, didn’t we? I mean, one has to go into the bathroom to get away from the phone nonsense and, even then….whoops, gotta go, my wife is ringing😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL so this husband-in-the-washroom thing ISN’T just you guys having to actually use it, you’re literally hiding!! Hmmf

      Yes, we did survive without electronic connections for many, many years and we were fine then (keyword then) but the world has fortunately/unfortunately evolved with the times and sadly, when the internet is a fail, some things that we relied on also fails… like access to 911, Interac, connection to the daycare that cares for your child all day… it’s sadly something that we have grown dependent on..

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hahaha…nowadays without internet we’re lost 😅 but I think some days without it is good😅 I’m glad I grew up in an era without mobile phones too 😉
    I use mine mainly for working and online grocery shopping ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lost is the right word! We just forgot how to function all together! LOL It was the oddest thing trying to make plans to meet up with my sister because they’ve gotten rid of payphones here so we wouldn’t even have been able to connect in some way mid-trip… lol

      Liked by 1 person

  5. While all that was going on, we, living on the east coast of Canada, were enjoying a lovely day, mostly outdoors, with a nice breeze and an up and running Telus network that we weren’t really using. The only thing that was affected for us was that debit wasn’t available at the restaurant we ate in, but visa and cash were good. It is nice to be less dependent on technology although I do wonder about not being able to call 911 if the house was on fire.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yea, I was tolerating most of the inconveniences but not being able to access emergency services really ticked me off… God forbid I or someone I knew/loved couldn’t call 911! And the network was only going to be reimbursing pennies for the “inconvenience!” I was outraged! There is NO price on this type of “inconvenience!”

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve never been one to worry about things beyond our control (hurricanes, earthquakes, etc…), but it is rather frightening how dependent we’ve become on technology. If another country wanted to seriously throw our lives into chaos, it would be through a cyber-attack. I can function just fine without most things, but the thing I miss the most when the power goes out is the Internet.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. LOL. We were blissfully unaware of the issues on Friday because we’re with a different provider. We only found out when my husband got a call from his supervisor telling him they had to shut the phone system down because almost all of their staff were on Rogers. He had a nice quiet day at work.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I do carry cash and have a couple of £20 notes hidden indoors, but some shops probably can’t work their tills anyway if it all goes down. Without internet how do we check if it’s just us! I am also keeping my land line, though now my mother is no longer around it is probably only my elderly neighbour who calls the land line! It must have been very dramatic and I would have missed the internet, though I do love having a proper radio so perhaps I would not be completely cut off from the world.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes it was very dramatic lol a part of my loved the drama of it tbh but also, very inconvenient! I work in a hospital so a lot of things weren’t working from hospital systems to cash registers in the cafeteria… Our Starbucks in the hospital was giving out free coffees because ppl just don’t typically carry cash and without use of their Starbucks app, I guess they didn’t want to see people killing each other for a cup o’ Joe! LOL

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  9. We had a day like this last year (I think it was last year) here in South Carolina. The state lost phone and internet connections. Although society is not set up any more to operate without such things, I enjoyed the disconnect for a while. The freedom to set my phone down and not have it anywhere near me. I do believe we’re addicted to the screen and the dopamine kick we get at the simple ping of a notification.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I wholeheartedly agree… I am not as bad as many others I know but the internet and I are pretty enmeshed, let’s just say! It was good for me to be offline for a bit (but it better not do that again)!!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Your meme at the end of this post is priceless! I love your way with words. I was recently pondering this tech-dependence issue as my hubby plugged his phone into the car radio and it showed up on the screen “Paul’s iPhone.” It KNOOOOWWWWSSSS!!! Or when my boss talked to me on the phone THROUGH HER HEARING AID!!!!!! I mean, seriously. Talk about hands free! But, yes, and outage like that highlights how dependent we’ve become. It’s always good to have back-ups like cash and land lines (says someone without a land line and who rarely travels with cash.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • hehe I didn’t make that meme but it’s a great meme eh? LOL just says it all… 🤣 Yes, my husband and I have started to whisper in our house because of all the technology around us (whispering only when speaking about finances LOL not like when we’re asking to pass the milk or anything).. I don’t trust that my phone and computer and laptops aren’t “listening” to us… call me crazy but tech these days are very VERY savvy and all our movements are being “recorded”/watched/analyzed! And this coming from someone who doesn’t have one of those Alexa Google machines!

      Also, we don’t have a landline either but I always have a wad of $5 bills on me LOL mainly because I hate when ppl don’t have change LOL

      Liked by 2 people

      • Briefly: at the beach I saw this couple with a super fluffy dog. I stopped to pet the dog and ask them about it. They said it was a bermese (or so I thought.) Told my family later, I need to show you pics of that bermese dog I saw. I pulled out my phone and started typing berm and immediately it pulled up pics (before I finished typing the WRONG spelling, mind you) of the correct dog: Bernese. How did the phone know what I was going for? Why didn’t it autofill with Berma, for instance? And it did it so quickly. It was like it heard what I said to my family.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes that is creepy! That’s happened to me often too… I even tested it once… i started randomly talking about overalls and what do you know, which ad posts up between internet searches?? crazy tech!

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Oh yes, we are too dependent on our tech. What is difficult for us “old” folks is you can’t even schedule a doctor’s appointment anymore without having to use tech to enter all your medical info or insurance info. I’m okay with it but my 82-year-old husband has a hard time. And I hate it when you call your bank or doctor’s office and have to listen to several minutes of “if you are calling for” before you finally get a live person.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I feel the same way and I’m in my late 30s! I hate that I have to go online to check-in, look at my medical history, etc… I mostly hate it because I am always forgetting my password LOL

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    • Haha no worries, yes I am back online. It was a good 24hrs (although a small minority had to go without it for a few days)!

      The day it happened I was desperately hoping just YouTube would work for me lol hahaha it’s my bedtime routine (as horrible as it is and sounds) but it’s what helps distract me before bed but it was not meant to be lol I went to bed sulking but luckily woke up with connection finally lol

      Liked by 1 person

    • I feel the same! I grew up in the days where call-waiting was the biggest hoot until the internet came along lol and then it was the dial-up kind “Mom!! Can you get off the phone, I want to use the internet!?!” LOL

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  12. Southeast Michigan was part of that power grid meltdown in August of 2013 and the power was out for some for two days. At my house it was one day; the office was two days. It went out as everyone had the A/C cranked up high on a sweltering hot day. My boss had just crossed the Mackinac Bridge and called me a few minutes before to say he would lose his cellphone signal once he crossed the bridge. I was standing posting mail and the lights went out and the mail machine, being digital, didn’t work, so I had to go look for stamps. We had to go down four flights of stairs in the dark as the building’s generator didn’t kick in. Our office suite, just like the other office suites, went into reverse lockdown mode … all the “swipe features” won’t work, so the doors are open for anyone to enter any of the suites (kind of dumb). A woman on the bus was freaking out as she had mailed a lot of bills that morning, as she knew her paycheck was directly deposited into her account – only it wasn’t. She would not be able to cover all the payments – “oh what to do?!”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh my goodness, I felt the sweat reading your recollection of that 2013 meltdown… There is one particular power grid blackout I remember vividly; it was during the times radios were still listened to on walkman’s lol… Because that’s what we used to listen to the news. I think our house was out about 3 days, there was no way to contact anyone unless you walked over to their house.. I remember getting into the family car with my dad to drive down to Union station to try to find my sister who was out right when the black out happened. I also just remember eating all the ice cream in the freezer lol that was the fun part! And finding ways to entertain each other! My how we’ve come to really rely on our technology and how fallible it can really be!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I can remember eating all the ice cream in the refrigerator too when the power went out. Priorities were important! One time it was the middle of Summer, so there was sherbet and popsicles too. We are having a bad storm this Wednesday – that will likely break the heat as it’s gong to be hot the next two days – not as hot as the UK and parts of Europe though. They have no A/C there – pretty unbearable. Speaking of tech, my Comcast e-mail is down – don’t know why and it worked earlier today, but it is down now and says “server down” – hmm. I use web-based e-mail, yet my internet, also through Comcast, is working fine. Strange.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Pingback: All I want: July 15 – A Silly Place

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