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Falling Ice Dam Severs Web Cable—Alone with Thoughts…

2011/02/18

The most recent two posts on this blog riffed on Democracy and Social Media.  Here’s another slant on the connectedness connection.  What if outside habitual connections vanish for one person?  Is one such still a social being?  Can a person grow a new social self like a starfish growing a new arm?

Maybe this is a post about the new human, homo webbus communicus.  Folks, I’ve been off the communications grid for almost two days – a monster ice dam fell recently at my home office and cut my ISP cable – also pulled down the fascia and gutter along about half the length of the house.

OK, the cable is now repaired.  The cable guy anchored his ladder in 16 inches of ice-capped snow, spliced a male coupling to each dangling cable length, mated them with a two-ended female joiner, then made them safe and decorous in a small protective box.  Ya gotta love the terms they use.  Sounds like a movie with lots of beer – in the Philippines, I’m told a lady joiner is something else entirely.

Anyhow, now have web access back in service.  Just need to stay one step ahead of the squirrels and birds by getting the fascia back in place to close the gap now showing beam ends of rafters open to the world between the soffit and the edge of the shingles above.  Technology today in this place and moment seems to be a battle where furry and feathered creatures surge toward gaps into the house, juxtaposed with idea-based tools that help explore packs of themes running unexpectedly strong and akin beneath the surface of things.

Weird how pervasively untethered it felt to be unable to connect with the web – a subtle apartness that, not so many years ago, did not exist as apartness – the absence of constant contact was the only existence.  No wonder we’re all a-twitter, effaced behind twiddling keyboards and absolutely constant word and image abrasion and ablation.

Absent the link, you’re stuck with being all there with yourself.

And if you were born and raised during these (not so many) recent years, you simply live in a profoundly different world in thinking about public and private life, information plasticity and source agnosticism, beliefs arrayed by color and sound and motion aligned on an open spectrum in no particular order — structures and distinctions drawn from the close-in social cells where you live and talk, where neighbors and workers and friends are as much (or more) unseen as seen, and as aligned or not as you choose them to be.

Makes you suddenly want the sharp sweet taste of a hand-scrapped lemon ice through the sidewalk window of a Brooklyn neighborhood bakery.  It’s winter outside, but the mind keeps connecting unbidden summer images.  I’m here trying to work, thank you.

Nothing new in any of this, of course – the severed link just presented itself wham! at a busy time when the ice cut it all off without announcement, so that the silence resounded and memories rebounded.

Well, there’s nothing new in that, either – seeing through a glass, darkly is an old, old notion touching on connectedness, hence social frameworks, personal role, response, responsibility.  Just really didn’t expect opaque ice to crash the day and remind me of connections by cutting one newly habitual way to touch them.  What, reality ruffle my feathers?

Here’s hoping the next ice dam (which is too high up to reach) doesn’t repeat the whole performance at some other length of my tether to the ether…

4 Comments leave one →
  1. 2011/02/22 12:05 am

    David–loved reading this! We’ve become so used to connecting to each other and to ideas using email, social media, blogs, that we feel cut off when we loose access! See National Public Radio’s On the Media, which had great commentators on the impact of technology and the internet on 2/19/2011: http://www.onthemedia.org/

  2. 2011/02/22 9:57 am

    Clarissa, thanks for citing NPR’s excellent media forum. Given the contribution that NPR and Public Television make to the public discourse, I hope they survive the latest onslaught by the righteous free thinkers now baying at the gates.

  3. Bob Glorioso permalink
    2011/03/01 9:22 pm

    Ice, ice dams, winter, freeze….it all seems so foreign. We’ve been in Florida since the end of January. But, alas, it all comes to an end in two days when we go back home to an ice dam causing drips in our living room. Fortunately, we put a plastic sheet over our piano.

  4. David Morf permalink
    2011/03/02 1:42 am

    Bob, thanks for your wry comment. I don’t know where you live, but it’s clear you see yourself returning to weather colder than abides in Florida. Here in Western Mass, the cold nights and above-freezing days (well, when they occur) are causing the maples to pull sap into the trunk from the roots. Happy maples mean a maple syrup harvest and local-produce eggs and pancakes at the sugar shacks in the area. So I offer that as salve to the ice dam weather. And your foresight looks likely to leave you with a happy piano. Maybe winter is a behavioral tool — it (sometimes) rewards lessons learned about drips to preserve keyboard pleasures.

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