Thursday, April 2, 2009

Trailers For Sale or Rent

Rooms to let, 50 cents.

No phone. No pool. No pets.

I ain’t got no internet!

I ain’t got NO internet!!!!!

As I write it, I still don’t believe it. No internet. I think you can sense my shock and dismay, can’t you? Sorry, I think I’ll be ok.

We have made the great move to rural Nova Scotia. Two life-long city folk, used to all of the conveniences of city life. It would appear that time has stood still in many parts of the world. A phenomenon that we hadn’t even considered.

In addition to no internet, I do not have cable (or any television signal at all) or a mobile phone. Nor are we attached to municipal services for water or waste disposal. You know what I mean by waste disposal, don’t you? Flush the toilet and where does everything go? Chances are, if you’re reading this and you know me personally, you’re likely a city person as well and have never had to think what happens to your poo when you flush. Boy, have I had to think about it, in minute detail, no less.

But back to the internet. Cable and mobile phones are available here, don’t let me mislead you. I am in the process of arranging to receive these services. But this region, and many rural regions in Canada do not have high speed internet. What, you may ask, is the alternative to high speed internet?


Yes, you got it, dial-up.

I remember when the internet first became widely available in the home. Oh the anticipation. Sit down in front of the computer, dial into your internet connection. Oh the excitement when you heard that electronic handshake as your computer connected to the wide world outside. My heart still skips a beat when I imagine that sound. And, for the last few years, imagine it is all that I’ve had to do once high speed entered our daily lives.

When we first arrived here, I refused to get dial-up. Refused to believe that it was all that was available to me. And that’s where things got interesting. I’m trying to remember when the last time was that I have lived without internet service in my home. I guess I’m going back to the early 90’s. About 15 years of having the world at my fingertips.

I use the internet for everything. Any question I don’t know the answer to? Look it up on the internet. I do all my banking and a good deal of my shopping on line. But mostly, it made my world a whole lot smaller. Like most people, I have friends and family spread out all over the world. Email is the mode of communication. It’s instant and informative. It’s an amazing way to keep in touch. Webcam changed my life.

I can’t remember the last time I actually wrote a real live letter. Snail mail, so to speak. Until recently. Oh, I used to love writing and receiving letters. But, as video killed the radio star, so too did internet kill the “write it down in a letter and pop it in the mail” method of communication. So, this week I dug out my trusty pen and paper and wrote an honest-to-God letter to an 83-year-old friend. She has internet, but I had to send her a letter since I’m not yet connected. Go figure.

I really enjoyed it. It was lovely. I must confess, I didn’t really use the pen I dug out. I typed the letter on the computer and printed it out. Hey, I’m only prepared to go so far. But I did enclose the letter in a note card and I certainly wrote on that. And I addressed the envelope by hand as well (I normally use the printer for that too).

And I’ve recently received a letter as well. It was so nice to imagine the personal thought that went into writing and sending me that letter. There’s a lot involved, isn’t there? Dig out the paper, write the whole letter out. Stick it in an envelope. Address the envelope. Buy a stamp. Put a stamp on the envelope. Actually get in your car and drive to a mailbox. Get out of your car, open the mail slot and pop it in. I’m tired just thinking of it.

And I’ve had to speak to human people a whole lot more. Go in person to places, instead of contacting them via mail. My laptop looks so forlorn and incomplete. The WI FI button mocks me. I weep when I read the automatic message balloon that says “no wireless connection available – anywhere – ever mwaahhaaaa!” I pretty much live in the post office and the library these days. The post office because I have to write to people instead of emailing them. And the library because they have free WI FI!!! It’s only a 20-minute drive to get to these places. So convenient.

So, I didn’t, I couldn’t take no for an answer. The people at the phone company know me well now. Moving day arrived and after I had been in my new home exactly 30 seconds, I called to enquire about high speed. I had heard nasty rumours floating about that high speed was not available everywhere in the world, and definitely not here. As you know, their answer was “Nope, sorry. Dial-up for you, I’m afraid.” I asked to speak to someone higher up the chain of command. Each phone call involved stating my wishes and waiting two or three days to have someone call me back, you must realise. So, the second person up the ladder called me back. They had checked it out and the answer was definitely no. Despite the fact that my next-door neighbour, who only lives .3 of a kilometre away from me, has high speed, the answer was still no. They had checked their maps you see. I asked to go up to the next rung on the ladder and I was introduced to the lovely Marie. My new favourite person. The buck stopped with Marie. Initially, she said no, too. But she agreed to check into it further. Marie was great. She called to give me regular updates, most of which were leaning towards a no again. And then, it happened. This week, four weeks after moving in, the no turned into a yes. They were going to hook me up with high speed!

Letters be damned! I’m getting connected again. The trip down memory lane was great, but hey, we’re talking internet here. It was like imagining living in the days before television and electricity. Sure, in those times you coped, but you didn’t know any better, did you?

That’s the good news. In the bad news department, it’s going to take about 4-6 weeks to get connected.

And the bad news?

Until then, I have to go on Dial-up.