Is there life beyond the digital?

Note: this is an update of post written in 2012

On my frequent travels to conferences, I count on having internet and cell phone access – at least most of the time.

Imagine my dismay when on recent trip to the Caribbean the wifi in my St. Croix hotel was on the fritz. In theory the hotel had wifi. In practice, no amount of coaxing, repair, or magic worked. The wifi simiply refused to work.

On a connecting trip to Puerto Rico the apartment had no internet, so I planned to keep in touch and access internet with my smart phone. Then only one bar appeared on the phone. What? Uh, are they in the dark ages? OMG!

My first reactions (not in the order listed) were:

In St. Croix:

Arrrrgh! Yikes! No internet in the room. What will I do? How will I communicate with my classes! My family will think I’ve abandoned them. Oh no, I’ve been sucked up by aliens to a galaxy far, far away!

Initially, I found my fingers groping for the cell phone while I stared helplessly and clicked furiously -hoping to somehow beat a signal into the phone. Then, I tried calling home and discovered that my phone was roaming at $2/minute. Well, that won’t work. Uh, how will I play Words with Friends? How wwill I update Facebook?

We could only access wifi here . . .

Next, I hurried down to the hotel restaurant where they had open wifi and picked up essential emails; checked Facebook, and made my play on Words with Friends. Ok, so at least I am somewhat in communication. Yep, the students emailed me; no, they didn’t all get their work posted; answered three desperate pleas for help; told them all to read the instructions.

I can’t work, so maybe I’ll go down to the bar and have a mojito. Oh, and they really do make some killer crab cakes. Thank goodness

In Puerto Rico:

Oh no, not again. One bar. No phone service. Yikes, my friend’s apartment has NO Internet! Really. Aren’t we in the 21st century? Ok, that’s a rhetorical question. Hmmm. I’ve survived so far, let me check at the conference. Good, the conference has free wifi.

No point in calling home at $2/minute roaming. Before leaving, I had emailed everyone that I would be offline most of the time. Gotta check Facebook during the conference; answered student emails; oops, better pay attention -this is a small group and they may notice I’m not listening. (argh! Am I like my students?). Words with Friends will wait.

A cold lunch: coconut with pinchos de pollo and tostones.

I can’t work, so maybe I’ll go hang out with my friends after the sessions. Hmmmm, good food in Old San Juan – ceviche, pasta de guayaba. Did I tell you that I bought some brazo gitano for my family.  Went to Bebo’s restaurant for a yummy mofongo con pollo y salsa criollo.

Topped off the day with a trip to Piñones for coco frio, pinchos de pollo y alcapurrias de jueyes. Then back to the hotel for Happy Hour.

Hmmmmm. Maybe no internet is not a bad thing.

Moral of the story:  Life in the digital age is complicated :)))))

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