Aug 15, 2013

Struggles to Stay Connected

"Wow, you're really far out there, why would you live so far away if you've got a business to run?"

At a Starbucks on Monday we were milking a few cups of coffee as fast as our nerves would burn it. Deadlines always seem to coincide with internet outages, and though my laptop took a while connecting to the 4G on the phone, it eventually let me transfer five gigs worth of data both ways. Up to that point I was faced with the stark reality that there was simply no way to do my job. The house internet was down, and the phone was acting up-- where else do you go to transfer large files quickly?

Typically these kinds of file transfer tasks are done in the middle of the night while I'm asleep, or while we're out enjoying the view of the valley on a walk, but Monday was one of the many days that our service was too unreliable to get the job done. I wish I could say that's a rare experience.

Aside from the single unreliable provider in our region, our local library only has access on par with dialup, and the nearest 4G tower for our *still* unlimited cellphone data plan is an hour away. Verizon is slowly trying to box us out of tethering that to a computer, so it's only a matter of time before there really are no options.

When the internet doesn't work, neither does our life out here, and I think that's a shame. While waiting for my downloads in the coffee shop I was desperately googling for other options, and while on the phone with a provider the guy asked me what I was doing way out here. What could I say? I want to live out here. I want to live in a field or some woods where I can see wild animals and old barns. I like collecting our rain water to drink. I like quiet. You can see a storm approaching in the valley from our house, and when the blasts of wind start shaking the walls I like to peer out of the windows with my wife and watch the rain crawl over the hills.

He kind of laughed at me. Lightning takes out the tower that services our region every time it storms, and we have to reconsider moving to the city again. It sucks.