Computers and the internet are just a part of life. We all expect to be connected at any point in time. I don’t know about you but I don’t even make meeting plans like I used to. In high school or college, planning with friends would go something like this.....let’s meet at the Big Boy at 7 tonight or see you at the football game in our usual section or I’ll pick you up at 10. But now we say things like.....text me when you get here and I will meet you outside. Even this blog is an example of how digital connections have changed communication. In college, I had an 800 number so I could call my parents every Sunday night to let them know I was alive. Hey don’t judge, I went to college 10 hours from home in the frozen tundra so they were a little worried. But today, I tell them to just check my blog to see how I am doing. Although we still talk weekly, we often have to leave each other many messages until we connect.
Don’t get me wrong, I actually like the way things are now better. There is no more worrying about long distance minutes (and I used to really have to worry about that because I never seemed to have a boyfriend in my free calling area). I also don’t have to make plans too far into the future which is great. It’s just so much easier to talk to our loved ones across the Atlantic, Pacific or wherever they may be. I remember the first time I came to France and had to purchase a calling card for 20 francs (about 5 US dollars) just to call home. I split it with one of my friends to my conversation with my mom went like this: “Hi Mom. I’m in Paris and all is well now that I have finally gotten over an ear infection. Gotta go, Adriane needs the card to call home”.
I also really enjoy the documenting of my experiences through a blog. In the past I always took travel journals. I have so many of them stacked around my house from trips staring when I was about 10 years old. The blog is more of a permanent record that can be shared with so many more people than my written journals. The biggest difference being there is a small filter that my experiences in the blog are passed through to make them appropriate for mass consumption. Not that my experiences here are that much different than how I describe them on the blog but I certainly leave out choice words.
So this week when not just once but twice I had internet connectivity issues, I found myself more frustrated that I have been in a long time. First, my work computer would not connect to the internet. I had to put in a work order (in French) and then describe to the IT professional who came to help me with my issue what was happening. Keep in mind I can barely do this in English. It really made me miss the IT folks I work with back in Birmingham where I can just say “I don’t know what the problem is but I can’t access my email, the internet or my network files.”. Then I get to walk away and grab a cup of coffee or participate in some office chatter, both of which are better than staring over the poor person’s shoulder who is kindly fixing my problem. So there I was stuck in my little tiny French office with two people from IT who were asking me in French if I tried turning it off and on and blah, blah, blah. I smiled and answered their questions for the agonizing 20 minutes until they were able to restore the connection but was desperate to get away.
Then I came home to find that the intermittent connectivity issue we have been facing in our apartment was still an issue. I reached out the my AirBNB host to let her know what we were seeing. I was dreading this conversation because I knew she would have to be in intermediary between me and the people at Freebox (French wifi/cable provider). I explained the issue we were having in French and literally here was the response from Freebox: “There are no issues with our service. It is because your device is spontaneously connecting to the wrong router. Or you could try turning off the TV and speakers because they can interfere with your reception.” Honestly, what? Does that make sense to any of you out there? Well here I sit with my work connectivity problem solved and a strong suspicion that I will still be facing home connectivity problems in the future. Oh well, I still say it’s worth it compared to what we had before!