2011.08.10 Trying to waste a little time

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

I suppose I’m getting more work done this week, but I also feel so lost. The problem is the absence of internet service.

The Observer’s second telephone line went down during the demolition last week. It didn’t just go down. It apparently disappeared. The demolition guys said they didn’t knock down any wire and I had trouble disputing that since there was no wire to be found.

I expected to see it on the ground leading into the pile of rubble or just hanging from the utility pole, but there was nothing.

“Nothing” includes internet service because that’s where the DSL connection came through. 

Some time Monday morning one of demolition crew guys came in and said, “I think I found your problem. Try it now.”

It was still a dead line. 

He showed me what he found. Two lines going into the office and one of them was cut. He twisted the wires back together, but that didn’t do a thing. 

I was surprised to see the wire where he found it, anyway, because I was quite sure that it entered the building near the window in the upstairs apartment.

I called Frontier Communications, our successor to Verizon, and told them my problem. 

“We’ll have it repaired by Aug. 9,” I was told.

I wasn’t as polite as I should have been.

“Aug. 9!! That’s absurd,” I said with a not-so-friendly Aug. 1 voice.”

I got in a lot of exercise Monday and Tuesday, pedaling home to check for news and ads sent by e-mail. On Tuesday, all the PDF files were transferred to a flash drive and taken home to send to the printer. We got it done and weren’t much later than we always are.

It’s the three days since then that I’ve felt a little lost and unsure of what to do. I stand at my computer and there’s no e-mail, as though that’s what I need to function.

I needed to contact someone about repairing bricks on my south wall. The only way I had to reach him was by leaving a Facebook message with his daughter. I couldn’t do that.

I needed to look back in our PayPal history to see if someone had made a payment. Not today.

A laser printer toner cartridge went bad earlier than it should have and I wanted to see what the company might say on its website, and maybe call them. I couldn’t do it, nor could I take a look at some other printers on-line.

I wanted to send an update on an issue to Larry Weeks. It was looking stormy when I was traveling over to the school and I wanted to glance at the weather radar. I wanted to send a message to someone about a story I’m writing.

Heck, I just wanted to waste a little time. How did people waste time before the internet? I couldn’t remember.

I read an e-mail newsletter about the newspaper business (I was at home, of course, where there is internet service) and saw a comment that seemed both ridiculous and amusing. I suppose it even has some truth to it, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right approach.

The topic was the electronic addiction of employees. A publisher from Arkansas wrote: 

“As far as employees using computers for personal use, cell phone, etc;  if you hire someone who is addicted to these gadgets,  it's almost hopeless unless you have someone checking closely. The best choice is to hire older people who are not addicted to these gadgets.”

I was thinking about this later back at the office and I imagine this guy to be some old stick-in-the-mu. I want to take a look at his paper on-line, but, as you know, I’m unable to do this.

I know some older people who have all these new-fangled gadgets (cell phones!) and I know some older people such as myself without a cell phone. But still, as we’ve learned here, I seem lost without the internet.

Now it’s lunchtime on Friday. I’m the only one in the office on Fridays. I don’t leave unless I round up someone to come in for a while.

I have a routine for Friday noon: I go on-line while I eat. I just mess around or I find something interesting for the Observer website.

Today I have nothing to do but look out the window watching for a Frontier truck or I could get some work done, such as writing this column.

There, it’s finished, and two days earlier than usual, but I still hate the efficiency of no internet.

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