June 10, 2011

USA: It's utter frustration when the WiFi doesn't work!

PORTLAND, Maine / The Elder Storytelling Place / Time Goes By / June 10, 2011

By Johna Ferguson
I knew it would happen someday, but who knows why it picked today to happen. You see, we use WiFi from the woman who lives above us. She doesn’t mind; she is only home about three days a month so she leaves it on for us to use.

This morning when I got up and tried to get into the internet, I had no such luck. Now this doesn’t bother me too much since I just read my email and a couple of the newspapers on it. If it doesn’t work, then I can always go out and buy a paper on the nearby street corner or turn on the radio or TV for late breaking news. But for my husband, it is like a catastrophe of the worst kind to hit as he is what I call a computerholic.

As he came into the office I quietly said, “Dear, I can’t connect to the internet. Perhaps something is wrong with my computer.” Now what to do?

You see he spends at least six to seven hours a day using his computer and he doesn’t even have a real job he uses it for. He is what in China they call “an intellectual,” so instead of watching YouTube, playing games and the like, he uses his for more important things.

Granted, he does send and receive lots of emails with friends in China, but then he also uses Skype to talk to them and that of course also takes the internet. Every day he reads Chinese and American newspapers thoroughly, whereas I often just glance at them and then only read what interests me.

Because he is a retired pathologist, he also peruses many monthly medical journals, especially the New England and British Medical Journals, all of which come over the internet.

So first he tried his own computer but nothing, although the signal was strong. Then he made me move and he tried mine. Of course nothing. Then he decided to try using the land-line connection which we had formerly used, but he couldn’t make that work either.

By now, almost an hour had passed and still no luck. He really didn’t know what to do with himself. He knew he had some very important mail and calls, but no one could get through. I could tell he was starting to get frustrated. I can always write or at least try to write using just Word while I have my morning coffee, but what would he do?

Well luckily, just the day before he had copied into his hard drive an 18 page article from The Sunday Times, Remembering 1989. Since he had nothing else to do he decided to translate the article into Chinese. His computer has both English and Chinese programs and he can actually type Chinese faster than he can English.

I knew this would keep his frustration at bay for awhile but come afternoon, it would surely erupt when he felt he must check his email.

Today we are having one of our typical Seattle rainy days but I am sure he will eventually take the bus to the library where he can plug in his computer and sit and read the afternoon away to his hearts content. That will work fine for a short period, but in the long run he won’t want to go out each day to take the bus downtown.

That leaves two solutions: hope the woman upstairs reconnects her system or we pay for our own internet service. Those sound simple to me but if hers won’t work, he is so frugal I think he will waste time trying to figure out another way to try to get around paying. Maybe back to using the telephone line, or trying to find another internet signal in the neighborhood.

Those options will help keep some of his frustrations at bay for they will keep him busy for while but only time will tell. I’m just hopeful that all of a sudden everything will miraculously work and once again he’ll have a smiling face instead of the grouchy one he’s been wearing all morning.

Times have changed. The world will stand still if all these new inventions don’t work correctly. Let’s not even think of a worldwide breakdown for then, complete pandemonium would occur. With billions of frustrated people, there would be much more than just grumpy faces.

© 2011 Ronni Bennett.