OOPS! ABOUT OUR 4-DAY HOLIDAY WEEKEND

When I was counting my medication, I forgot that everything would be closed from Wednesday afternoon through Sunday. We don’t have a lot of 4-day holidays here. They are usually three days at most. Thanksgiving is different. It is always on a Thursday. Pretty much every non-essential business is closed. That doesn’t include everyone. Hospital workers, reporters, entertainers, police, and firefighters work. Retail workers are at their busiest on holidays.

The rest of us, though, are home and that includes family doctors who are not working in hospitals. Mine is home for the holiday. When I was counting out how many pills I had left, I figured I’d call for new prescriptions on Wednesday, forgetting that there wouldn’t be a doctor available until next Monday.

Retirement has made it hard to keep track of the days and quarantining has made it hard for everybody. It turns out that not knowing what day it is isn’t part of being old. It’s part of not having a regular schedule. I often don’t know what day it is unless I look at a calendar. If I wasn’t blogging, I’d probably never know. I might not be sure what month it is. But we have calendars. On the wall, in the computers, and on the phone. These have become my reality checkers.

It’s interesting how electronic devices have crept into our lives, even when we didn’t really want them. Between the three of us, in addition to two full-size laptops, we have three Kindles (two or which we almost never use, but they are there — just in case), an iPad, and and iPhone, and four Alexas (not counting the Kindles which have their own Alexa devices in them, but which I’ve never activated.

The Alexa devices have turned out to be convenient. I don’t use them to monitor the doorbell or adjust the lighting, but I use them to play music, hear the news, check on delivery from Amazon. They make great alarm clocks and the new one I’m getting has a clock in it so I can finally get rid of the bedroom clock that takes up half of our bookcase cum headboard. It has a CD player in it, but I haven’t used it in so long, I’m not even sure it works anymore. With the addition of music on the Alexas, I think our CD collection is going to become slightly extinct, too.

I don’t like trusting so much of my life to the vagaries of Charter Communications. If that connection goes down, nothing will work. Not the telephone, television (or the device that lets us watch streaming stations), music, calendars. Everything is hooked into a single wi-fi connection from one provider, because that’s all the town allows us to have. I am sure someone got paid off.

If you want to talk about how quickly our modern world could end, just eliminate wi-fi and suddenly, everything stops.

I fought it. I really did, but somehow, as the years rolled by, the “connected” life crept up on us. One computer at a time, one electronic reader at a time. “Smart” devices make us all stupid. I used to remember directions and telephone numbers. Now I count on my phone to do my remembering. But at least I finally have an electronic scrabble game and a bridge game. That’s something, right?



Categories: Anecdote, Apple, Computers, Computers, devices, Technology, Wi-Fi

Tags: , , , , ,

27 replies

  1. Not sure how I’d manage without my Alexa devices. I’d have to find a CD and put it in the slot. Switch on the lights myself. Push buttons on the remote controls (gasp!).

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  2. We are very dependent on our technology. This morning I got up, had a shower, turned the radio on and put bread in the toaster. At that point the power went out. I thought it was an outage at first, we do get a few down here but then I noticed the light in the stairwell which I usually forget to turn off was working. Further investigation showed that all the lights were fine but all the power was off except for those hard wired in, the two ovens and the heater downstairs. The circuit breakers didn’t seem to be tripped so I had to call an electrician. However, now that we are on the NBN our landline works via the internet, but that wasn’t working. Luckily I had that hated mobile phone and managed to find one that would come before it ran out of charge. I normally use the internet to search for phone numbers of tradies so it was lucky that I had added more credit to the mobile yesterday. In the meantime what to do? No internet so no blogging or emails and no streaming TV or listening to the radio. No baking. No vacuum cleaner or washing machine. In fact no water because the pump was not working so no cleaning dolls which I was doing over the weekend. No toast for breakfast. I haven’t decided whether lack of toast or lack of wi fi was worse.
    I did manage to make a cup of tea. Naomi keeps a kettle on her stove downstairs so I went and borrowed it. I read a magazine and did some knitting until the sparky came and changed the offending power point but it made me think how reliant I am on electricity for everything.
    I remember an Asimov story, one of several he wrote involving the supercomputer that ran everything called Multivac. This one was about a member of an activist group who thought Multivac had too much control over everything. He managed to disable it but then nobody knew what to do.

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    • That is why we got the mobile phone. Because our landline ISN’T a land line. It’s wi-fi, so when the power is out, the phone is out. And frankly, out wi-fi has been pretty funky lately. On and off and on and off all day long. Infuriating.

      We are ALL reliant for modern life on TWO things:

      Electricity and water.

      If you think having the power go out is bad, our well is linked to electricity. if the power is out, we don’t have water, either. NOTHING works without electricity, not even the oil furnace. AND we have a well, and there isn’t anything scarier than a dry well. Freaked me out!

      I think Asimov wrote a few stories along those lines. He wasn’t against modernization. He just though we should beware to have backups so we can survive if they fail. Sadly, we really don’t. Without electricity, few of us could survive. We don’t have the skills now if we ever did (I didn’t).

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I’ve learned that since moving here where we have tank water not mains water. No electricity = no pump=no water. I keep several 2 litre bottles of water in the pantry in case of an outage and have a bucket in the shower to catch water when I shower. It comes in handy to flush the loo if necessary.

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  3. there’s good and bad in everything. it’s up to use to choose wisely. i agree the creep is unavoidable

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  4. Insidious isn’t it? I’m so glad I held onto all our books. It’ll take a life to get through them all. (I’m half way there.)
    Leslie

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  5. Several years ago Mr. Stephen King wrote a novel entitled “Cell”. It was his usual ‘malevolent space invaders come to conquer Earth” with a modern twist…the aliens subjugated mankind through their cell phones. I’ve had a very strong aversion to cell phones ever since I read that book. I still am caught in the ‘web’ though. I wonder what would happen to society now, with the virus and if the devices got interrupted. We can’t go out and mingle with our neighbors as we could before (well not safely, I guess you could do it). There’d be no TV for folks like yourself and me. A lot of my reading material is on my Kindle. Oh let the ‘net be strong and let your town fathers realize the folly in monopolies of internet service providers. Because surely they suffer with the incompetence of that company in your area too?

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    • We have a very “stop and go” wi-fi service. Charter is not a great service AND it’s the only one we have here.

      We can mingle. From a distance if they are strangers. We have friends we know are safe. They are very careful, as we are. Frankly, I don’t have neighbors I talk to, except the guys across the street and I haven’t seen them since COVID … they may not even be home, although there are lights on. They just aren’t going out.

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    • Melanie, technology giveth and taketh. All the advances bring glitches of varying sizes, designed to drive you mad.
      I do most of my reading the old fashion way — with real books. I read much slower these days and find myself tracing lines with my fingers to let the narrative sink in. I use the kindle when Marilyn has books that interest me. It’s a different type of reading enjoyment. My ears replace my eyes.
      As for cell phones, I HATE them. Understand, I don’t like phones in general. It’s personal, dating back to when the TV station would call at odd hours, rousting me out of bed to cover some calamity. I HATE phones and the sound of their ringing. I often morph into Leroy Jethro Gibbs when the phone rings. In my mind, I’m taking out my Glock 9 and blasting the phone to AT&T hell.
      Finally, I hate when the wi-fi or whatever has a seizure and screws up whatever program we are engrossed in watching — usually it’s a pivotal moment. Murphy’s law, I wager.
      But — all my venting aside — I still have clear memories of our old console radio going on the fritz and the rabbit ears on the tiny B&W TV becoming useless as electronic snow filled the little screen, obscuring the climax on “Playhouse 90”.

      We should remember Spencer Tracy’s courtroom monologue about “the price of progress” in “Inherit The Wind”.

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    • We still think someone in our local government got “special treatment.” We don’t have a mayor, just a bunch of people called “selectmen” some of whom are women. They do what they want and we get to live with it. Small towns are dictatorships. It’s fine as long as you just don’t get involved. The politics in small towns is usually brutal and Uxbridge is the worst.

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  6. I remember a short story from years ago about the day the machines stopped, and no one could save themselves because they had forgotten how to walk after spending their lives on chairs behind the machines. Pretty scary since I’m close to reaching that point.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Was that the one where the roads stopped working after which they discovered magic. That was Robert Heinlein. It was two short stories in one book. Waldo & Magic, Inc. I have it somewhere in my library. But there are probably others, too.

      There was another one (Asimov maybe?) where the robots wrapped everyone in cotton to keep them from hurting themselves. I sometimes feel like that’s what’s happening here. Anything that MIGHT be danger for some idiot, we can’t do anymore so everything you want to see (or photograph) is behind a barbed wire fence.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Patricia, these are scary times. The machines have too much control of our lives.

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      • I know. I don’t own a cell phone, still use the old fashioned land line. The computer is my nod to current distant conversation. I still use the phone,of course, but since I don’t have the home numbers of most of the people, the computer is the answer, although it is getting harder and harder to read the small print.,even with a magnifying glass. Pamper your eyes so you can keep on reading for many years to come. I do watch TV shows, with closed caption of course. Now,in my 90s, my faculties are getting frailer, too. Ah, well, there is no escaping the ravages of the years, and I am just deeply grateful that I’m still navigating at all!

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        • Even with his new hearing aids, Garry keeps the captions on. I can’t hear what they say either. The music is loud, the voices are muffled. They don’t spend any time on properly setting up audio. For some reason, they don’t seem to think it matter whether we hear the show or not.

          Garry has glaucoma, but he take care of his eyes. I have a bit of cataracts in one eye, but not bad enough to repair. I got a special heating pad for my eyes. THAT helps the very dry eyes and makes them stop itching!

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  7. The electronics do have a way of creeping into your life, and before you know it, you are dependent on them!

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    • I was so resistant to them for years . Then someone gave us an Alexa and Owen gave us an iPhone and I’ve been using a Kindle for years and I was IN the computer business while working, so it wasn’t all that far to go. We are so dependent on the Internet. If something goes wrong with our communications satellites, we are cooked.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I DO like our Alexa, especially as a deejay who delivers old, favorite songs in the blink of a second.

        “Alexa, play Tiny Tim and “‘Tip toe through the tulips’. NO, Alexa. Just kidding. ALEXA!

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  8. The devices offer many useful options. But they can also be manipulated from afar!! https://dcmontreal.wordpress.com/2020/11/26/hijacking-google-mini/

    Liked by 2 people

    • Some can, but most from only very short distances. My pacemaker can be manipulated, but you’d have to be less than 1 foot away from it. I don’t know about cars, but I don’t have a navigation thing built into my car. I’ll read the piece, though.

      I figure the manipulators are probably not after me. How much can they bribe someone who has no money?

      Liked by 1 person

    • D.C., I saw that movie again with the bad guys doing dastardly things from a far. “Under Siege” with Stephen Seagal battling Tommy Lee Jones and his motley brigands using computers for vile matters.

      What happened to the old school bad guys who didn’t need technology to pull off a caper. They had
      DIGNITY!

      Liked by 1 person

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