Monday, August 12, 2013

death on line

What do the Rosenbergs have in common with my modem, backup hard drive, and cordless telephone?

They all have fallen at the hands of an electrical executioner.

While I was at church yesterday, we experienced a mild seasonal thunderstorm.  Rain.  Thunder. Lightning.  One of the electrical discharges sounded as if it was part of our weekly sermon.

When I got home, I checked for telephone messages.  Or, I tried to check for telephone messages.  The face of the base unit was as blank as teenager’s when asked to name the capital of Kentucky.

Rather than troubleshoot right then, I powered up the computer to check my email.  But there was no internet signal.  There was no signal because the modem had the same blank look as the telephone.  No lights, at all.

The fact that I immediately started troubleshooting the modem is a rather good indicator that the internet is far more important to my life than is the telephone.

I have lost at least two other modems to power surges.  When I call Telmex, the clerk sends me through a series of exercises that would make Jane Fonda happy.  Check the power outlet.  Check each cable.  Look for a light on the power converter.  Turn the power switch on and off.  Push the cryptic reset button.

Rather than wait for the Telmex drill sergeant to send me through my paces, I did all of that on my own.  The result?  As we say in this neck of the woods -- nada.

It turned out that the only time-consuming part of the call was getting a human being to answer the telephone.  The young lady who eventually responded was very professional.  She did not make me repeat the steps when I told her what I had already done.

So, I now have an incident number.  With it, the modem, some form of identification, and , of course, a copy of my latest telephone bill (because nothing can be done in Mexico without a utility bill in hand), I will be off to Manzanillo tomorrow to pick up my new modem.  I was heading that way for my next dental appointment, any way.

Being without an internet connection for over 24 hours has been rather liberating.  I read several chapters of Tom Wolfe’s outstanding book on modern art (The Painted Word) and took the time to really watch Lawrence of Arabia -- one of the best epics ever filmed.

And then I went up to the roof to watch an even better show. The annual Perseid meteor shower.  Our home planet is crashing through the detritus of the comet WASPishly-named Swift-Tuttle. Last night the show was outstanding -- with a meteor about every minute.   Tonight should be almost as good.

With offerings like that, I have no urgency in getting myself hooked back into the matrix.  But I will.

No matter how nice it is to have an occasional break from the internet, it is still a marvelous tool.

No matter what the lightning thinks.

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