There was a time when having a handy person as a friend and living next door was the best thing ever. (It still is, Glen. Don’t mind that statement!)
Then it was a great coup to know an electrician or a plumber — both if you’re really connected.
But in this day and age of technology, and our apparent inability to live without devices with touch screens and buttons, people who know how to troubleshoot and fix said items are always in demand.
There was also a time when the word “unplugged” meant that Eric Clapton was sitting on a stool somewhere with only his acoustic guitar, and not an amplifier in sight. Nowadays “unplugged” probably means you’ve vowed to leave your cellphone tucked in your pocket or purse, secretly on vibrate, of course, for the duration of a meeting or a meal.
Our lives are consumed by items that require passwords, cyber connections, and all things in the atmosphere that make us easy to track down. Convenient, yes, but always a good thing? Absolutely not.
My family is no different. Last year, when we purchased our getaway place in peaceful and beautiful Green’s Harbour, the intention was to use it as a haven away from busy lives and hectic schedules. However, we couldn’t go cold turkey with the peaceful life; there was a phone call to the local cable company to make sure we had high-definition digital television shows and high-speed Internet. And thank goodness we have cellphone coverage, mostly by one of the patio doors — it’s a rough connection in the kitchen.
For over a year now, I’ve enjoyed posting pictures on Facebook of the sunset over Trinity Bay, snaps of the ripe, red apples growing on the crab apple tree, and shots of seagulls fighting over sea snacks, all within seconds after taking them with our handy Wi-Fi connection.
Thanks to the HDMI cord — don’t ask me what those letters stand for, I have no clue nor do I care — I can watch old episodes of “Mad About You” on Netflix while the laptop is connected to the television. Great on chilly nights when it’s too cold to sit out.
The one thing we never really used that much, though, was the digital cable television. Now, I love certain shows, but am happy enough to record and watch them at home when I have time. So, after watching about four total hours of television in the past year, we decided to stop paying for a service we just weren’t using.
A quick call to our friendly neighbourhood cable company, and it was settled that we’d lose the cable television but keep the Internet.
Well, something got lost in translation along the way, and all services were disconnected. No big deal and easily fixed, but when I showed up there last weekend, ready to enjoy some time in front of the easel and then do a little computer work later in the evening, followed by a late night Netflix chick-flick, I was pretty surprised to discover that indeed, I was unplugged.
You wouldn’t think it would be difficult to fill up a few hours without technology. Turns out, it’s hard! What to do? For many reasons, I couldn’t paint all evening, so imagine my delight when I rediscovered an old love: reading. I found my missing Kobo! Yes, more technology.
With something chilled in a glass and Norah Jones crooning in the background, I hunkered down with a warm, fluffy blanket, my handy electronic reading machine and re-read pages that were enjoyable before the device went missing.
It was heaven. But I didn’t complain when I saw the bright yellow vested man on the power pole the next day and those fabulous stacked lines to the lower right of my computer, all lit up bright and shiny, indicating a full Internet connection.
The first thing I did? Download more books on my Kobo. Turns out unplugged was not so bad.
Email Paula Tessier at firstname.lastname@example.org.