Today I arrived at the office with the usual morning ritual in mind. My workday starts with checking the company customer service inbox. Fine. I read a few emails and replied to confirm orders as I entered them into the computer system.
Then a strange thing happened. Every confirmation came back as “Undeliverable Mail”. And none of the emails were received later than last night! Not good. Our IT department informed us the communications company suffered “a major fiber connectivity outage” to the whole area.
I could have stayed in bed! My presence was totally superfluous at this point. I felt like an appendage with no sense of touch or purposeful function.
Since the phones were likewise down, I decided to go online and check my personal emails. Writing took precedence last night so I expected quite a few replies were in order.
Oh, I realized, that’s right! We have no voice or data service. Duh…
So I considered checking into spring vacation reservations. I have my cell phone. Would it be so bad talking to a real live person for verification? But then I remembered that all the information was accessible only via the internet. Not even the resort name had been scrawled on a scrap of paper.
I went back to my latest story as a result, which saved an otherwise pointless morning and turned out to be time well spent. This helpless feeling got me to think about my habits, though.
Months ago this part of the US went through an extended power outage and I felt proud occupying my mind just fine with pen and paper. Electric lights weren’t really missed as long as I had a candle. If ink ran out I could switch to pencil.
Today I discovered that things are very different when the electricity is on. Having a world of information at my fingertips has become an unconscious expectation.
Sure I didn’t suffer withdrawal in this morning’s on-again, off-again moments without connectivity. Yet I can’t help wondering how I’d react over a long term lapse. I think instead of questioning my weakness, I’ll post this blog and go check a writers’ forum.