I’ve often thought I’d never survive in “olden times.” Like ancient Rome, or pioneer days, or the ’50s. To the outside world I probably seem perfectly evolved for historical times: I have decent vision, I rarely get sick, I’m really loud (for orating in Ancient Rome) and I’m able to store EVERY SINGLE calorie I eat as fat in case of leaner times.
However, I really need modern luxuries. Like Advil. And hair highlights. If not for living in our current time, I wouldn’t have had an epidural, and I’m quite certain I would not have survived childbirth without that. Of course, I also wouldn’t have become detached from monitors, leading to a six-alarm emergency as nurses thought the entire population of my labor room was in cardiac arrest. But that’s another story. This week, the Embee family got a test of our abilities to survive in ancient times:
The Internet died.
If you think that’s a ludicrous comparison to, say, not having indoor plumbing . . . well actually you’ve got me there, but short of enduring flies circling my head while I squat in an outhouse, losing the Internet is about the most direct launch into the Dark Age one can experience.
When that box with the blinky lights first froze (I learned later it was a cable modem, and it had died, RIP), I did what anyone would–I hit the keyboard harder. And moved my head forward like a pigeon each time I clicked the mouse. Then we yelled at the laptop and the blinky lights for a while. Then we figured it was a temporary outage and all would be well in a matter of minutes. It was uncomfortable knowing that we couldn’t look anything up. That the world was Happening and we didn’t know about it. But it was temporary.
The next morning I had to find out the weather from the TV. Then I had Mr. Embee guide me to a work location (where I would not have a computer–insult, meet injury) via cell phone because Al Gore had NOT come to my house in the dark of night to fix my web tubes. I had no idea who had posted on Facebook that they had been up until 3 a.m. making cupcakes for their kid’s school party. HOW was the world still spinning?
Clearly we needed to call the Provider of the Information Tubes. But guess what? We couldn’t look up the number! (We don’t have these, how do you say, ‘smart’ phones. My cell is, as a friend recently informed me, from 1912.) On the way home from school, Sally asked how balls are made. How am I supposed to know? Why does she need to be so smart all the time? I started to say “we’ll look it up” and then remembered the universe had imploded the day before. What was I going to do, break out the Encyclopedia Britannica? So I was like “Sorry kid, you’re gonna have to just be a dummy for a while until Mommy and Daddy get the computer fixed.”
By dinner time, we were devolving. We managed to grunt back and forth until we found the yellow pages (gathering dust in a closet in case we needed an extra booster seat) to call someone about our little issue. I couldn’t cook because the recipes I needed were online. Sally started chewing at the leather ottoman while I wove loin cloths from the upholstery. We began collecting water from the garden hose and screeching in fear at our reflections. Mr. Embee came home from work and wondered what in heaven’s name was going on. Then he learned (from the cave drawings) that the Internet was still out, and he went to kill a neighborhood cat for us to feed on.
We’d become such cavepeople that by the time we finally talked to a customer service rep on the phone, we could barely communicate. “Lady say put in account number. You know fancy numbers?” “Why lights still no blink?! Gods very angry!”
Forty-eight hours after the apocalypse, just before we lit an offering bonfire in the living room, the web came back. Our sins were forgiven! And it’s lucky for Sally because the sacrifice stake was prepared, and she’s the only virgin in the house.