Tuesday, August 19, 2014

How to survive 3 days without modern technology

On Friday, driving to another city, there was a terrible thunderstorm. It looked for all the world that the car was heading straight into Armageddon. The hail on the roof sounded like the pounding of the hooves of the four horses of the Apocalypse. The sun was shining but the sky was as black as night though the photo below doesn't show it so, having defaulted to a mid grey.
Upon arrival at the destination, the weather was worse. So torrential was the rain that it was impossible to venture outside the vehicle. Even if it had been possible, it would not have been wise as lightning played around the area so it was just a case of waiting the storm out. Crash went the thunder and another bolt of lightning hit nearby - time after time. The lights of my destination dimmed and went out several times, such was the ferocity of the storm. Eventually after about 45 minutes imprisoned in the vehicle it was possible to emerge.
The rain and lightning had taken out all the electronics. The TVs were dead, the internet was dead. Indeed, only basic things like a conventional stove and electric lighting worked. Everything else was dead. Hundreds if not thousands of dollars of electronics had been destroyed. Were it not for the fact that there was electric lighting and electric cooking appliances, the place would have been time-warped back to the 15th century. As it was, it was time-warped back to the days of my youth for those were simple times with no television, no internet, no computers. Everything was done by hand. Calculations were performed with a pencil and paper.

It was not possible to do anything at my destination other than talk, play cards, eat and drink. There was no alcohol so drinks were nothing of which even the most devout religious guru would have disapproved. But what to do for the duration? Using the sole working mobile telephone for even the land based telephones had been annihilated, it was ascertained that the company responsible for the telephones, internet and television would only be available to fix them on Monday. It was now Friday. The prospect of a chasm without any form of connectivity to the internet yawned, bleakly and forebodingly with all the entertainment value of a root canal.

In actual fact, everybody had a great time. Instead of sitting individually in front of separate consoles, people talked and interacted. Things were done. There were no calls of "later - after this game". Talking, it was discovered that the good ladies of the house needed one of the shower stalls to be refitted in order to render the place ready to be rented out. First the narrow shower doors had to be removed in order to replace them with a more open curtain that would thus allow more generously proportioned people to enter. This was a task handed to me to which I set about with gusto. After a few false starts when nothing seemed to shift the screws that held the door frame to the walls, it was ascertained that they could simply be pulled away as the attachment was no more secure than a screw going through a hole drilled in a ceramic tile and embedded in plasterboard (sheet rock). Thus after a couple of hours taken trying to dismantle the unit nicely, all it took was a few minutes with an iron bar. 
 One thing leading to another, the floor of the shower needed to be concreted in order to support tiles. As there was already a liner in place - the original owner of the home had started to do the shower before shuffling off this mortal coil - it was just a case of laying concrete. Cue my friend's sister's boyfriend who donned his cape and leapt into action as Construction Man. Within hours, the cement was laid even including a further trip to the hardware store for a second bag by yours truly.
The cement having dried, the next day was the day to lay the final layer of tiles before the floor tiles. It just seemed a good idea to finish the walls before the floor in case the floor needed a further layer of cement. Thus, the tiles having been mounted with tile cement, it was time to conclude for the day. Sadly, the next day, the tile cement (which had to be applied thickly) was no sufficiently dry to allow the tiles to be supported solely by the cement. Thus, the majority still needed to be propped up. 

And so went the weekend. Was the internet really, truly missed by anybody? No - it was not. The television was not missed and nor was the telephone. The sole mobile phone which was an aged flip-phone of pre-historic vintage was the sole means of outside communication. Life was good and infinitely more productive.

This leads to the main question - how would you survive the absence of modern technology? What more would or could you do that you could not normally due to the technology addiction you don't realise you have? For us, there was life beyond the internet. Indeed, there is much talk of cancelling all of the three services and keeping just one small, solitary flip phone for emergencies. There is even more interesting talk. There is talk of retreating to the countryside to raise chickens given the state of the economy since people will always want food. There is even talk of one member of the group running for office as a write-in candidate for the Gubernatorial election in November. Watch this space very carefully for further updates.

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