The past couple of weeks have been a bit brutal with respect to natural calamities. Snow, flooding, earthquakes and tsunamis. Last Thursday, as if in a last-ditch effort to maximise inconvenience before a gloriously sunny weekend, lightning struck in my area and took out internet and phone service to the whole valley.
But it didn't simply all go phooey in one hit, rather connectivity ebbed out of the wires like life-blood out of a feeble and failing, ancient sheep. First I lost internet on my PC. Then my tablet started to sputter and I hurriedly fed my Hay Day farm animals so they wouldn't starve. I even thought to leave a bowl of milk for the Hay Day cat so she could drink, then sleep it off. Heaven forbid the computer calico went without - she might wander off to someone else's farm. My IRL cat, on the other hand, repeatedly empties his lungs in a continuous stream of obnoxious until you wish he'd wander off.
The worst moment was as I watched the signal on my mobile phone die. No Google Hangouts, no Telegram, no Slack and no Instagram. I live and work in a zero-cell rural area and the only way to get cell service is through the internet. Adding salt to the wound, I picked up the home phone to call our provider - just a bunch of crackles and the slow tic...tic...tic caused by an electric fence near the phone lines. Like I said; rural life.
I spent the rest of Thursday fuming and Friday in Steve's office, using his unlimited data. Sometime on Saturday I remembered why I liked being in the country - no traffic noise, birds chorusing, the occasional baa and moo. Only now it was uninterrupted by dings and buzzes from the wide range of ways in which people stay in contact. In Pavlov's Dog fashion, I had been responding to every electronic summons.
But now I slowed down and started to pay attention to the peace and serenity of real life around me: the gentle purr of our cat, soft snores from our dog, the warming sun and good conversation with Steve.
And then, eventually, the phone rang. What good news! - we're connected again. But what bad news - we're connected again.
The phone call was from a neighbour using speed dial to call his wife. Our lines have been switched. If I want to call the neighbour, I dial my own number.
Thursday has come back around again, so it's been eight days since lightning wreaked annoyance in my valley. I'm still working from Steve's office, but there's a glimpse of hope - a little ray of connectivity sunshine on the horizon. I called our provider again today and the tech support guy said he'd personally follow this issue through to completion.
Yay for decent customer service, finally. Fingers crossed: hopefully I'll be back in my own office tomorrow. But as we all know, "hopefully doth butter no parsnips."