The End of Uncivilization As We Know It

As anyone who has followed this blog for any length of time knows, we have a camp in Confluence, Pennsylvania. It’s just a small camper in a small, quiet campground, but it’s in walking distance to the Youghiogheny River and about 100 yards or so to the bike trail. Hubby can go fishing, and I can go biking without moving the car. The town itself is an easy one-mile bike ride away. It’s a quiet little town with a dollar store, a grocery store, a fruit market, and a bike shop. There are other shops, but those are the ones I frequent.

There is no cell phone service in Confluence. Oh, I’ve heard tales of someone picking up a signal by standing behind the Laundromat and slowly circling. I’ve been told you can pick up a signal by standing in front of one of the campers in our campground.

Maybe SOME people can. But not me. Can you hear me now? No.

I either have to walk up the hill to the Youghiogheny Dam and then walk ACROSS the dam and stand in the hot sunshine (or pouring rain) to make my calls OR I drive a couple of miles to the top of the mountain and sit in the church parking lot. It’s a quaint chapel, but we call it Our Lady of Immaculate Reception. And since it always seems to be either scorching hot or raining (or threatening to rain), I most often take the car to the church to check messages and phone home.

There have been promises of a new cell tower for years. So far, nothing. Can you hear me now? No.

As for Internet, the library provides a high speed connection on their computers. But my work and my email addresses are all on my laptop. There’s the Lucky Dog Café just a few minutes bike ride away. They have comfortable seats and air conditioning AND free wi-fi. But I can’t in good conscience sit there and use their Internet without buying something. They do have great lemonade.

I’ve always lugged my laptop into town to the bike shop and sat on the hardwood floor to use their free wi-fi. I enjoy chatting with the owners and occasionally buy some new trinket for my bike.

The point is I can make contact with civilization, but it takes some effort. While I’m actually at my camp, I’ve been distraction-free. I get a ton of writing done. No checking email, Facebook, or Twitter. No phone calls interrupting the flow.

Alas, all good things must come to an end.

We spent the weekend at camp, and I made a startling discovery. A new feature of our campground is FREE INTERNET.

I didn’t know whether to jump for joy (no more sitting on the hardwood floor to check email!) or to weep (there goes my isolation from the world…no more claiming, “Sorry, I only check my messages once a day, sometimes less.”)

Yes, I know, I don’t have to be online all the time. I don’t have to be online all the time at home either. But when I’m wracking my brain about what happens next in the scene I’m writing, it’s an easy escape.

To be fair, I did make good use of the new amenity this weekend. I was working on some article proposals and was able to do all my online research right then and there. Handy.

So my days of seclusion at my camp are a thing of the past.

But at least I still don’t have cell service.

I think once they do get the tower built, I’ll lie about it. Nooo. I can’t get a signal. Sorry. Can’t be reached.

Can you hear me now? NO!


Mason Canyon said…
Having the convenience of modern technology can be a two-edge sword. It can be so handy and helpful, but also take away from that peaceful, quite time. And when cell phone service gets there, just say the phone battery died and you forgot the charger. :)

Thoughts in Progress
Becky said…
You could have kept the internet service a secret to late now!

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