No, this is not a review on the Umbrella Academy. Sorry to disappoint if you were hoping for my thoughts on that Netflix hit series. If you actually want me to, let me know in the comments below. I’m still on the fence about watching that one. No reason really, it didn’t interest me all that much based on the trailer, but I digress.
So what does my weekend have to do with time traveling you ask? How about feeling like you’re back in the 1990’s with technology. That’s right, a time when smartphones did not exist, cell phones were becoming popular, texting costed you a nickel per message, and the good old age of when dial-up was still supreme. Can’t recall when DSL started though.
You may have noticed that I reactivated my personal Facebook. Since my indefinite hiatus from social media for personal use, this has been my outlet for when things go south and I need to reach people. For example, post-earthquake in December. I know everyone still uses Facebook so it’s a great way to keep those around the lower 48 states up to speed when my connections go down. Starting towards the end of last week, I started having random connection issues as I was traveling around the areas I normally visit. I assumed a cell phone tower was being worked on or went down temporarily.
We’re a small community after all, so when power or cell service goes out… it’s not always fixed right away. But, as the weekend approached, my issue got worse. I lost the signal completely. I did the basics for phone troubleshooting. I restarted my phone a few times, drove around to see if it was just one area (we do have more than one tower in case you were wondering), and even resetting my sim card. Well, it continued to get worse. I eventually started seeing this weird error and took to social media with the screenshots asking if anyone else had seen it. Apparently, it was just me. A coworker had AT&T and was fine.
Side note: I’m still on my family’s plan so I couldn’t troubleshoot this solo.
In came my dad to the rescue. I am very thankful that he took time out of his Saturday to visit an AT&T store on my behalf. He also added me as an authorized user so I could contact AT&T with any future issues. With the help of a rep at the store, we reset all of my network settings and LTE was restored! So I thought… until it eventually cut out again and sometimes randomly dropped. I started getting the same messages. However, any time that occurred, I reset the settings and back to normal. Until today… Now, I have either “searching” or “no service.” I called into AT&T Tech Support. They had to elevate my case to a Level 2 tech so they could research and hopefully resolve my issue. Best part, the 24-48 wait time… ahhh!
So, now I am back in the 1990’s. My laptop was the only device I have that could pick up the WiFi extender to my cabin. My PS4 and Switch really struggled but they could get it on good days. My phone never got it. The reason I say “was,” is because I’m currently typing this offline on WordPard due to the WiFi going down as well. The weird part about it all is that I don’t have a house phone. I literally have no way for anyone to contact me at this moment. And it truly feels like I’m in the 1990’s again. Minus the fact that I had a house phone growing up. Sunday afternoon, I was on Facebook. Even when I reactivate it to get in touch with people, it’s usually just for a status update. I rarely scroll through the feeds because it quickly reminds me of why I left. As I had the “desktop” messenger app open I was able to have multiple conversations going on at once. It felt like I was back in my chat room days. I could have more than 10 windows open at one time with actual live conversations happening uninterrupted. I type 80-100 words per minute accurately. I didn’t realize my nostalgia would take me further back to the days of knocking on neighbors doors to see what they were doing. But now… I live in Alaska. My neighbors are pretty spread out or not even in the state if they snowbird.
While it has been weird to be unplugged by force, ironically on the same weekend as Snow Camp, it has been a good experience.
Side note: due to being sick for five weeks and now having bronchitis I did not reach out to the camp director this year to see if he needed me. The dates are March 10th-12th and had I gone, I would have been completely off the grid for three days. This is my first year since moving here to miss camp.
This whole weekend made me really desire face to face interactions again. How things used to be if you will. Being a millennial, I witnessed the change of house phones, unannounced visitors at the door, and old fashion letters become cell phone calls, no visitors unplanned, and e-mails. Now, people mostly just text… an actual phone conversation or even face to face interaction is weird for many. Growing up through this change of communication via technology has left an interesting impression on me. I’m still pretty old fashioned and prefer a phone call, face to face encounter, or randomly dropping in on a friend to visit. Out of the five love languages, my top one is quality time. I would say physical touch is a close second. Having both of those being high makes living in a world of text and social media very difficult for me to feel connected.
I have a lot of friends that call me their friend or even best friend. But if those two love languages are not present in the friendship, it is hard for me to see them in the same light. Now, friendships continuing despite moving is in a different category. I still have many friends back East that I would consider very close. We text often but I have told all of them I prefer Marco Polo. That way I can hear their voice, see their face, and have it be a close substitute to real interaction. I have had a difficult time living in a remote area. It has been hard for someone like me, who prefers quality time and physical touch over words of affirmation, gifts, or acts of service, to connect on a deeper level. Interestingly enough, acts of service is how I communicate my love the most. Despite these preferences, I have allowed texting to fill the void if you will. Now that I am unplugged, I’m remembering how I really connect and what I feel I’m still missing.
Sunday, I had to get creative. I was bored for the first time in a long time for two main reasons. One, everyone has been insisting I stay home and rest. I mean, it is bronchitis we’re talking about here. That said, I have been sick enough to know I do not like staying in my cabin for long periods. Two, I am unplugged from the world. Granted I could boot up my Nintendo Switch and play some of my backlogs, but the thing is I really struggle to play video games solo. I desire connection so much that I have almost become a multiplayer-only kinda gamer. With poor internet connection comes a Switch collecting dust when I am not at Game Club or traveling.
Here’s hoping for AT&T level two techs not taking a full 48 hours to resolve my phone issues. Hopefully, there isn’t a level 3 tech. Let me encourage you though, to be like my weekend. Unwind and spend some time alone tech-free. I’m gonna go read a book I have been putting off for to long or perhaps go to bed early again. Due to being sick and still running on all cylinders, I have been sleeping a lot this weekend. Thanks for reading!
Author: A.P. Smither
Editor: P.J. Walk
Blog Disclaimer: views and opinions expressed by A.P. Smither do not necessarily reflect the views of his editors, current employer: Copper River School District, or ministry affiliates: Light Shine Ministries and Hope of the Nations Christian Center.