We all await the excitement of that moment — that one moment in time — when we are actually in the “4G air space” so we enjoy the rapid connectivity for which we pay extra every month, but never actually receive because we live in a “3G” world.
But I don’t always want to be connected. I also dream of “unplugged” time during which I can relax and think deep thoughts and ponder the universe or my navel (whichever), over wine, music and a barbeque.
And then I spent a year one week in Wainscot (a sub-township of East Hampton) where Verizon has no “G”s at all.
Not a “G” within miles.
To get one bar of “G”-ness, I had to go north, cross a highway filled with aggressive sports car drivers and go in the direction of the North Fork. I am glad that Verizon services the crunchier, family friendly North Fork, but Verizon must take pity on those souls who do not, by choice (rather for familial obligations and homesteading), inhabit the tonier side of the highway.
For work-related calls, I had to drive around for connectivity and then find a safe place to park. I got so desperate that two bars of connectivity was a G-dsend. When asked where I was — just to have idle chit chat until all parties to any given call dialed in — I simply could not mention that I was parked in the lot right near the King Kullen supermarket and, as luck would have it, in front of the liquor store.
Yes, yes, the Hamptons can be glamorous. For some.
Being disconnected was not so bad, except for the essential people whom I needed to call or with whom I needed to be in contact.
But talking on the phone was unbearably like that commercial, “Can you hear me now?” except there was no “good” following the answer.
Only, “You are breaking up. Text me.”
Which even worked for SOB, one of the most technically un-savvy 50-something year-olds I know.
But not for almost 93 year-old Dad who isn’t so great on the phone anyway. Even when I had THREE bars in Montauk, it wasn’t enough for Dad.
Hey, Dad! It is [Blogger]!
Dad! It is [Blogger]!
DAD, DAD, CAN YOU HEAR ME? IT’S [BLOGGER]!
Yes, darling, how are you and everyone there?
SIDEBAR: If he can’t hear, then he can’t remember. So, he didn’t really remember where I was or why or with whom. Then everything goes to shit. I get why the phone is hard on the elderly.
We are great, Dad.
Who is there? Where are you?
Dad, we are away for a week. There is bad reception. Can you hear me?
DAD, DAD, I will text [SOB] and she will call you and let you know what I said. ok?
Ok, sweetheart, where are you now? Hellooooo?
CALL DISCONNECTS. My heart sinks. I have only confused my Dad, not helped the situation by checking in.
I text SOB. I must speak to Dad through an interpreter while I am in No-Fi land.
No-Fi land. A land of legend and dreams. Of gods and monsters. Of serenity but also of being with the person you have become. Good, bad and, sometimes, ugly.
Still, I yearn for this land.
Or so I think.
No-Fi is in the future — when I don’t worry about parents but my loved ones and children (who may be aliens, depending on age and stage) are with me (which may mean building a compound for the multitudes). But therein lies the rub. If I am not worried about my Dad (or aunts and uncles, or fake aunts and uncles), then that means they are gone.
So, I guess I would rather live in Wi-Fi for as long as I can.
No-Fi is not uncomplicated. It is a place you go to heal after life’s journey relieves you of some of your most beloved companions. And the quiet forces you to think about who you are and what you want to become.
Yes, it is easier to be connected.