Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Living With Dial-Up

The book is finished, for now. I had to FTP the three fairly huge PDF files to the client today. As the internet knows (because it sees my computer like an x-ray machine) I am on dial-up here at Rowanville. This is a topic of great discussion for me and anybody I encounter who has any understanding of what I do for a living, or anyone who lives near me and suffers the same digital disadvantage. Living with dial-up is like living with impotence, only they have Viagra. I have nothing, no options, just resignation that anytime I need to send a few large files or receive the same, I have to pack up my laptop and hit the road. I can handle things under about 10megs but it still takes forever. If the files are under 50megs I go to Pearl's school and sit in the library on small chairs. If the files are larger like 100megs, I have discovered the library in my town of Everson is best.

So off I went to the library after dropping Pearl at school. I arrived at 9:07am to discover that the library didn't open until 10:00. I sent a few emails from the car and then went over to the coffee place which is owned by one of the moms from school. While I was inside I ran into a woman who used to babysit Pearl now and then. She works in one of the local bank branches, the same one that DoubleMRanch did work for a few years back. We had an enlightening discussion, it was good to see her looking so well. I got my Tea and headed back to the library. I let the dog out for a quick pee in the empty lot next to the library. Two dogs barked at us while Luna sniffed at their fence, hackles up. I strolled around the lot a bit and looked at the bushes by the library. There was some sweet looking rhody I might have to ask my friend Binda about.

At 10:00am they opened the library doors and in I went along with several other people who had been slowly gathering in the parking lot. I picked my spot, back of the library but facing forward, enabling me to key an eye on everything. Happily I had conversations with several people I know from my community. My neighbor who is a retired art teacher and I discussed the problems we have on the road with unlicensed 4 wheelers ridden by high school boys, and... wait for it...dial-up!. I also spoke to a couple of the women who work at the library, both artists. Another photographer friend stopped over and told me about a show of his work in Bellingham. I spoke with 3 strangers briefly. I ended up working for about 3 hours on the final section of the book while the first two sent. I downloaded some other job materials and finally sent the last book files.

To some the inconvenience of not having hi-speed is daunting, an annoyance, something that must be fixed. It is almost a point of shame and embarrassment to me at times. But today, it felt like an irresistible opportunity for enrichment and connection with my community.

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