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The Rediff Special
One day without technology in US
February 25, 2008
It seems hard to remember anymore, but once upon a time we lived without Internet access at home.
As I scrambled around the house getting ready, I suddenly realized my car was in the garage. The garage door opener was not going to work. And I had never opened the damn thing manually. I was a little too used to the click and press lifestyle.
I needed to call in the cavalry -- some red-blooded American male who could be trusted to know such things (along with changing tires and replacing faucets). I went to call Greg but my landline was gone (Oh! Those seductive Internet-cable-modem-phone-line combo deals never mentioned that the three-for-one advantage also means when one goes, all three bite the dust).
Eventually, all I could do was send a text message. Mind you, I do not have one of those new fangled phones with keyboards that are conducive to typing long messages.
Ummm� how do I manually open garage door? I painfully plucked out my hapless entreaty hoping Greg was not asleep, in a meeting or in the shower. Bless his heart, he replied.
'It's attached to the track overhead,' Greg added.
I could see that. Just pull? That is it? I was dubious.
'Just that? What about the handle on the door itself? Is that to lock it?'
'Use that to lock it after u leave.' (Thank goodness, you can't tell the exasperated patient tone on text messages)
Armed with a little knowledge, I tugged. Nothing happened. I tugged harder. By now, it is well approaching 9.30 am. 'Did it open when you pulled the handle?' Hmmm� nothing's happening.
'Pull harder,' says my life-coach.
I do. I have visions of pulling it right off. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing when it comes to garage doors (and tires and pipes). I tug at the door. It seems for one heart-stopping moment to yield but then remains solidly down.
'Did you get it?'
Greg gets the door open. It turns out I needed to pull the door up by its handle at the same time that I pulled the red emergency release string. I was just doing them separately. I rush into my car and fly across town.
But it all works out.
All day long, however, the nagging feeling never goes away. How could I not open my own garage door? How incompetent could I be? How completely unable to fend for myself! I felt I was lost in America.
And I was supposed to be living in earthquake country where I should have an earthquake kit handy at all times.
Eventually, the power came back. But still wary of garage doors, I decided to leave my car outside for the night. I turned on the computer and realized the Internet was still gone. When I called my cable provider, a recorded voice informed me, "We are aware of the outage in your area. You do not need to leave a message. Our technicians are working on it." Rrright! By then, it was midnight on Friday.
I wish I could say I learned to meditate and found inner peace and learned to let go of the maya of being connected. That didn't quite happen. By the time services were restored two days later, I was a little stir-crazy. But some good came out of it after all. My kitchen was the cleanest it had been in years.
The Rediff Specials