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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