Wednesday, July 25, 2018

How 6 days without wifi changed me

We are back at our home at Candle Lake, and although it's been wonderful reuniting with friends and family, we hit a few snags during our first few weeks back in the Motherland. Firstly, our pump house did not winter well. Multiple leaks and broken pipes meant that we were without water for about a week. It sucked. I filled pails of lake water to flush toilets and used Culligan water to wash my face and brush my teeth. Luckily, Ev's mom is renting the cabin next door and my parents each have homes up here, so we were able to catch up on showers every few days. It definitely blew, but other than the fact that Ev began to smell a little ripe, we survived.

We hit a major snag a week in when lightning struck the wifi tower at Candle Lake and we were without wifi for...gasp...6 days! Now most people have the option of accessing mobile data to Whatsapp, Messenger, and Google very important information. Given that we own Cayman Islands cell phones, our data plan is incredibly pricey if used out of country. Mobile data was not an option for us.

Now I've read several articles about the benefits of "unplugging" and "living off the grid" on your overall quality of life, so I thought that being wi-fi-less for a week might just be a very positive and empowering experience. I decided to chronicle the week, with visions of family Trivial Pursuit nights, cuddling by the fire, restful sleeps, and blissful unawareness of celebrity gossip. It didn't end up quite as planned.

Kirstie Lindsay: Unplugged

Day 1:
Uh oh. Evan can't work without wifi. He has to drive an hour to Prince Albert and work from Darren and Allicia's home office. I guess I won't see him for a few days. So much for more quality face-to-face time. That's ok. I will message my mom and see if she wants to hang out. Shit. I can't message her without wifi. I guess I will ride my bike to her house. The chain just fell off my bike. I'm not exactly sure how to fix that so I google "how to fix a broken bike chain." Dammit. I don't have wifi. Whatevs. That's fine. I will do a paddle board workout. As I go to pull up my Pinterest app to retrieve "Best SUP workouts," I am faced with the pixelated dinosaur along with the dreaded, "There is no internet connection" message. Defeated, I pour myself a glass of wine. This is going to be much harder than I anticipated.

What's up with the dinosaur? T-Rex is ruining my life. 

Day 2:
I still haven't seen Ev since he had to leave for the city at 5am to make his 6am Skype meeting. I'm beginning to develop Instagram withdrawal. Many of my Cayman co-workers are on exotic holidays and I wonder what they are doing. Did Jeanria see the whale sharks? Did  Monty make it to Prague? And what is Wayne eating in Greece today? Now I will NEVER know. I'm also oddly curious about the whereabouts of the Kardashians. I'm quite certain that today is someone's birthday, but sadly, Facebook is not available to verify. I do some sit-ups and immediately grab my phone to enter my activity into "My fitness Pal" app, but realize that I will need to calculate my calories and activities by hand this week. If you don't enter your activity in your fitness app does it even count?

I decide to do some writing. Microsoft Word works just fine without wifi! One paragraph in I realize that I rely heavily on the online thesaurus. Unable to think of a synonym for "frustrated," I start to shake and drink wine to calm the wifi withdrawal.

Day 3:
I still haven't seen Evan. A "friendly" family debate regarding the age of Kathleen Turner escalates when I am unable to google it.  I realize  that the only way to settle this argument is to drive to Meath Park and look though my Baba's encyclopedia collection. I retreat to my bedroom and observe my appearance in the mirror. My skin looks sallow without my Gingham filter.  I ponder whether or not my island friends have tried to reach me or are concerned as to my whereabouts.  For fun I re-read old Whatsapp messages from last week. I drink some wine and contemplate sending a smoke signal.

Day 4:
Does Evan even live here anymore? Our septic tank is full and needs to be pumped out. I do not know the phone number, nor do I own a phone book. I go door to door asking for a phone book but apparently the phone book has been obsolete since 1997. I ride my bike to my dad's house and ask him to phone for a septic pump out. Kayla informs me that Justin Beieber just got engaged. I am incredibly disappointed that I missed such an important world event. As I prepare for a bike ride home, I notice that the sky has turned an ominous shade of gray. Is rain in the forecast? Can you still call the "time lady" for the current weather conditions (764-1411)? I take my chances and ride my bike home through a torrential downpour. I decide to dry off and drink some wine.

Day 5:
I am oddly missing inspirational sayings today. As I lay listless in bed at 10am, I try to recall a motivational quote that will inspire me to get out of bed. I can picture the poster that I had as a child - a cat dangling precariously from a tree with "hang in there" scrolled across the bottom. Not quite the motivation I'm looking for. I finish a book on my kindle and decide to search the amazon store for my next read. Alas, the kindle does not approve of my absent wifi signal. I realize that I am in dire straights. I wonder what year Dire Straights released "Money For Nothing." '85? '86? I will NEVER know. I decide to stay in bed today and drink wine while pondering the true meaning of life.


Day 6:
I give up. I feel isolated and alone. I decide to search for flights back to Cayman, as I can no longer live in these apocalyptic conditions. Upon realizing that I cannot access Expedia, I pour myself a glass of wine, just as our wifi signal miraculously appears from the heavens.

Fearing it's disappearance, I quickly access Messenger and Whatsapp and reassure all my friends that I am, indeed, alive - but barely. I load up Facebook and send be-lated birthday greetings to all my Facebook friends. I quickly check my email and realize that all of our Cayman bills are overdue. I promptly check the weather forecast. I scream in horror as the wifi signal drops off - and then on - and then off again.

The wifi signal eventually returned to full and even strength. Did living off the grid empower me? Did it free me from the confines of social media? Did it convert me into a better person who appreciates nature and face-to-face quality time with loved ones?

Nope.  Did the world end without wifi? I don't think so. But if the world was indeed ending, I wouldn't have known about it!

I need wifi. Plain and simple. Social experiment complete.
Now excuse me while I drink my wine and peruse Insta. 😜

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