“A week?” I said, my voice rising in a panic.
“Yes,” the woman on the other line said. “I’m afraid that’s the soonest we can get your Internet connected.”
“You don’t understand,” I said. “My livelihood depends on the Internet! How will I get my emails? My clients will think I’ve abandoned them! How can I send in my op-ed that’s due on Monday? And, well, how will I know what Tom Callister is selling on Facebook’s Grantsville Classifieds? Or what my friends are up to?”
“Oh, by the way, there’s a chance you’ll have a super slow connection of 1.5 megabits,” the customer representative said before hanging up.
I pictured myself waiting for Facebook to load and gnashed my teeth. To say I was stressed was an understatement. Eight months ago, we sold our house, moved into a rental, and now that the new house was done, it was time for another move. It was both an exciting and trying time.
For several weeks, I had been tying up loose ends in our rental, switching over utilities to our new house, and we’d already started taking a few loads over. I’d had very little sleep and was exhausted to the bone.
And now, this. No Internet for a week!
When I upgraded cellphones last year, I had picked a phone that had no Internet. Now I wished I had, just so I could at least check my email.
The first day was pretty rough. I missed that little ding that alerted me to a Facebook response to my latest witty post. I couldn’t even post about how I felt so lost not having the Internet.
Because of Memorial Day weekend, I couldn’t send my Transcript op-ed through Digidocs. So I rushed down to Java Bean only to find out they were closed. Driving to our former rental to access the connection there, I remembered I’d already moved our modem out of the house. Finally, I called a friend who generously let me use their Internet to send the file.
And then a funny thing happened: I stopped caring about not being connected.
Instead of emailing a client, I picked up the phone and called her. After dinner, instead of checking Facebook, I played Risk with the family. I sat down and read books. I wrote. I unpacked boxes and straightened up the house. I ran several loads of laundry in a row.
They weren’t all fun things, but after a few days, I felt like I’d accomplished a month’s worth of chores on my to-do list.
When a week passed and we got the Internet, I didn’t check my email until the next day. Since then, I check my email and Facebook as infrequently as I can, and only if I have a purpose. I don’t scroll through Facebook posts all day. I don’t post every minutiae of my life either.
At the pool the other day, I got out of the water to sunbathe and watched a couple sitting on lounge chairs, checking their phones.
I looked at the blue sky and at my kids, who were enjoying the water. Smiling, I closed my eyes and turned my face to the sun. I hadn’t felt this connected in years.
Jewel Punzalan Allen is a memoir writing coach and a long-time journalist who lives in Grantsville. Visit her website at www.TreasuredStories.net.