Saturday, February 02, 2008

The Storm

29 -
Originally uploaded by tamra hays
After weeks of tinkering with the DSL, Mohamed finally told us, "There is a problem between the big box (at TeleCom headquarters) and the little box (our modem). They will repair it next week." Then on Wednesday things went from bad to worse when a maritime cable was cut during a storm, knocking out service to the Middle East and India. We went from slow internet to no internet.

This reminds me of times when the electricity goes out. Without access to my electrical entertainments, I usually decide it's a good time to tackle that pile of ironing. Without the DSL, I decide it's a good time to answer that pile of email. Eventually I remember that I need electricity to iron and I need some kind of connection to send email. It turns out that it isn't the about the electricity or the internet, it's about habits. I'd been thrown out of my Habit-Trail and I didn't know where to run.

A friend described it this way, “When I get home from work, I check my email and surf for an hour or so. Then I exercise or read or watch a movie. Now, what do I do between 5:00 and 6:00? Can I not exercise or read or watch a movie an hour earlier? No , I pace around the flat until 6:00.”

After the initial discomfort wore off, the entertainment value of the internet was easy to replace. I read and wrote more. Mike practiced oud more. We had coffee with that restless friend on Friday morning, and we went to a museum on Saturday. We watched a couple of movies on DVDs borrowed from friends.

We’ve learned, however, that we don't have good backup systems for our communications and financial transactions between Egypt and the U.S. These aren't matters of habit; they are more like life support systems. So, I'll be looking for good backups - a better cell phone with an international plan (transparent excuse to get an iPhone) and more automated services from our banks.

No comments: