July 21, 2019: Trials and Tribulations of Technology
“The human spirit must prevail over technology.” – Albert Einstein
Every Summer, we move our studio, kit and caboodle, up to northern Maine. Our camp is situated on East Grand Lake, 22 miles long, 4 miles wide, and bordered by Canada on one side and United States on the other. The lake and our cabin is surrounded by woods. Maine, with its 1.7 million acres of forested land is known as the “Pine Tree State”. It’s a wild place, with, as my husband likes to say, “more critters than people”.
Technology has taken its time getting here. The local small town of Danforth) didn’t get wifi until two years ago. On a trip to the next largest city, Houlton, Maine, reception comes and goes in pockets. Where we are located, there is no cable and the only way we can access the internet is through a jetpack or a hotspot on my phone ((internet connectors)) which has worked for all the years we have been coming here. We truly treasure the beauty and peace of this place, but recognize it comes with a price.
“We are stuck with technology when what we really want is just stuff that works.” – Douglas Adams (Author)
When one is used to the immediate gratification of internet access like we have in New Hampshire, it can be an exercise in patience when the reception is both a challenge and not guaranteed. For some reason, this year internet has become an elusive quantity. As our business is an online entity, this access is critical. Over the past two weeks, I’ve spent over 14 hours on the phone (which thankfully does work), talking with representatives from both Apple Care and Verizon. The issues ranged from unexplained power surges (eating up 11 gigabytes of data in a week) to not being able to connect at all. I’ve gone through three jet packs, have become an expert at troubleshooting, and still am left with uncertainty of whether or not I’ll have access when I turn my devices on. As one technician told me, “Well you do live in a wild area, with not many people.” When I pointed out, that this is the first year I’ve encountered this problem, his response was, “Well, things do change.” Technology was becoming my adversary.
The customer support representatives and multiple technicians really have tried to help. But the hours of canned music while waiting and lack of consistent results have been frustrating. After a particularly difficult afternoon, I gave up and went for a swim. The water is very cold, refreshing is an understatement, but it did help to reset my attitude. While in the water, I realized that I was letting my frustration take away my joy of living in this incredible place. I was forgetting why we come here in the first place. The quietude and natural beauty are gifts, both inspiring and restoring us.
It seems like if I couldn’t change or control the situation, I was going to have to find other ways to adapt.
“Just because something doesn’t do what you planned it to do doesn’t mean it’s useless.” – Thomas Edison (Inventor)
Instead of viewing technology as an adversary, I counted the ways it makes my life better and fuller. Electricity and running water are greatly appreciated. A septic system and well were two additions we made after we bought our camp nine years ago. (An outhouse in the middle of the night was not a great excursion.
My camera captures the exquisite beauty of local flowers and nature that surrounds us. I’m able to record the changes we see each time we head out on the trails. My computer allows me to express my thoughts through writing, edit my pictures, and record ideas for our jewelry. My cell phone works allowing me to connect with family and friends. Technology is a valued necessity.
In regards to the internet dilemma, I’m going to be more creative and efficient with my time, searching for periods during the day or evening, when others will less likely to be online. And on Monday. I’m calling a company that makes satellite data boosters to hopefully increase my ability to get online with ease. So for now, after I’ve posted this blog, we’re heading out on the still lake. There’s an eagle’s aerie in a remote cove and we want to check if once again, there are eaglets in the nest.