(This is from the 2017 trip to Iceland.)
For the last fifteen years, I have tried to minimize the ways my dayjob — RealNetworks, grad school, and KU, depending on the year — interfered with what I thought of as my real life, which was reading books and sleeping and climbing and wonderful food and bourbon and the gym and even, once in a while, writing fiction. This meant that I didn’t have the internet at home: no way to answer emails, no access to portals that led to places that I didn’t want to be, anyway. And just as well, I always thought, as it was way too easy for me to get compulsive about the internet. Unless I was stopped, I would spend six or ten or twelve hours a day there, and the only time I didn’t hate myself was when I was writing long, fiddly posts on Live Journal and eventually here.
I had a phone I could text and check personal emails on. I figured that was plenty, though as phones got faster and more powerful, I got sloppy about that. If I could use my phone as a hotspot and watch videos or compulsively refresh my timeline, what was the harm, right? Except it was not who I am or how I wanted to be. After I moved to this cute house, I made a commitment to myself that I would be more in the real world: I would keep this house clear of time-wasting and mental clutter. In January I went mostly off FB, though I still crosspost there and check in on people once a week.
And then this. All of a sudden all these careful margins are gone. Now I am required to use my private space to do my day job. A third of my house now belongs to KU, though they don’t pay me for it — not me, not any of the people they are asking this of — and they don’t in fact even acknowledge it.
And I need real internet at home, sufficient that I can do emails and go onto Blackboard and whatever else I have to do to make online classes workable. I don’t have any of that stuff, and so I have just spent the last week (and regrettable amounts of money) to set up internet at home. Finally, on Friday: done.
BUT. This is an older house. Internet was installed maybe a couple of decades ago and hadn’t been updated. An AT&T guy came to my house today to sort all this out. The internet seems to be coming into my house through an underground phone cable that was repurposed, stripped and spliced and I don’t even know what in some very sketchy ways. (I saw the splices: very sketchy.) It can’t be replaced, not without a lot of money (and this is a rental), and so what I now have is this:
- My phone is still my real internet.
- But now I am also paying a monthly fee to have a backup internet that can send emails but can’t stream even Youtube videos. The only reason I need this is because I can’t access some of KU’s stuff via a phone, no matter how powerful.
Glass half-full, at least now if I lose my phone I can go home and use Find My Phone to track it down, instead of borrowing someone else’s to call Barbara and ask her to find it for me.
What this means is that I can’t actually do anything even semi-fancy for my online classes. I can’t Zoom or Hangout or livestream or whatever. I can do text chats, and I maybe can record videos and post them online (but usually I did that by going into the office, d’oh), So, dear students (you’re not reading by now, but, hey), we’re going old school: text only.
Which, now that I finally have all of this (not) sorted, I can write the classes.
Writing, yeah. I worked for a little while today, thirty minutes maybe? But only got a handful of words. I am going to have to concentrate on school for the next three days, but I am still going to try and get in position for a while each day.
I have been doing a lot of dancing to keep warm as I look for writing to replace the money I have lost from the cancellation of so many appearances, and I have found some. Details as contracts are signed. It’s still only a few thousand, but every little bit helps.
Now, off to retrieve my work computer, so that I am not using my personal laptop for every single thing. It’s hard not to feel downhearted and resentful about this, but really, there are a lot of great things I want to record: bushes are starting to bud, the sun is very bright, the air feels new, the house is clean, the refrigerator is full, and my knee is getting better. These are all amazing.