I, myself, had just performed several happy pirouettes around the deck after having just posted for the first time in two years at PoliTits navigating Blogger's new format while my heart pounded at the possibility of being reunited with my stupidly deleted blog. I returned to my seat to post my elation at having my old blog back, I saw that a couple of friends emailed me about something called Google+ and when I tried to open the first email.....nothing. Loading, loading, loading. I tried another tab. Statcounter. Nothing. Another. Nothing. Another. Broadband link error.
About that same time, MathMan threw open the bedroom window and hollered "What's up with the internet?" I could hear commotion coming from the living room. Grumbling, I went inside, remembering to reach up and snag the leaping cat who desperately wants to return to her feral roots or at least track down the squirrel who licks the deck every morning to ask him why in the hell he does that. She started to claw me, but saw the expression on my face and thought better of it, jumping with one swift motion to the floor and disappearing behind the sofa.
Nathan charged up the basement stairs, his XBox controller in his hand. "What's wrong with the internet? I was in the middle of a game!"
Sophie, who was awake during the day so that she could attend a party at 1pm, shook her iPod Touch. "I was watching Roseanne, but Netflix just went out. Did you cancel Netflix?"
Chloe was alternately packing for a camping trip and checking her email for an important message. "What the hell?" And then more words I won't repeat here because she shouldn't be using those words in front of her parents.
A sound from outside drew my attention. I tugged open the humidity-sticky front door and was met with a wailing sound made up of the collective epithets, oaths, threats and smart remarks from all those disappointed ATandT customers who couldn't check their bank statements, water their Farmville farms or upload photos of their privates. One neighbor wearing two oven mitts and a pair of her kid's swim goggles, wielded a pair of kitchen sheers on the metal stump housing the Comcast cable hub.
"What are you doing?"
"I was in the middle of searching for a recipe when the stupid internet pooped out! I'm dumping AT&T for Comcast. Right now," she said, blowing her hair out of her face. "Listen, watch for the cops. They patrol around the neighborhood at about this time every day." We stay at home parents and involuntarily and voluntarily retired people know things like this. I looked over my shoulder checking for the Black and White.
Another neighbor was squirting lighter fluid on a pile of kindling on his front lawn. "Jerry, are you going to send smoke signals?"
"Yeah, right. Smoke signals. No, this is for lighting our torches so we can make a show of force." Assorted other neighbors assembled on his lawn, scuffing their feet in the gravel along the curb, trying not to trample the impatiens or tip his bird bath. They carried iPhones, Androids, and pitchforks. The neighbor one house over was dismantling his ratty old picket fence while his wife stood next to him tearing sheets.
"We can use these for torches, Jer! I'm sick of painting it anyway," he shouted over the crowd.
Oh, sure now they're ready to take to the streets. I wasn't going to waste this opportunity. If people were whipped up enough to protest, let them at least spend their on things that would help the greater good. "Listen, while you're at it, would you mind protesting Georgia's disgusting new immigration law, the Republicans who never mention the deficit when they're running it up, two and a half wars, our corrupt governor, and corporate welfare in a time of high unemployment and record profits?"
My neighbor shook his can of lighter fluid at me. "You're one of those commie pinkos, aren't you? I told Sue to keep an eye on you when you started hanging your laundry out to dry and you guys replaced your lawn mower with one of those push mowers. Real Americans ride their lawnmowers!"
Yeah, this was going nowhere. "Enjoy your mob, Jerry, and don't forget that AT&T doesn't support net neutrality. Add that to your protest, okay?"
"Nevermind." I slammed the front door, glad to block out the racket.
"Well, the TV still works," MathMan said holding out the dvd of Social Network we'd gotten in the mail from Netflix. "Want to watch a movie after we take Sophie to her party?"
Later MathMan, Nate and I ate popcorn, drank root beer and watched the movie about how Facebook came about. Occasionally, one of us would reach into a vibrating pocket and pull out our phone to read a text.
"I know there's some message here about modern life," I said.
"What do you mean?"
"Well, while we're sitting here watching a movie about how Facebook was invented, most of my texts are from Facebook."
Just for laughs: First World Problems.