February 21st, 2020
Imagine that the year is 2020, and you have no internet and no phone. A hard thing to imagine in this high-tech day and age, I know, but it happens because I’ve lived it too many times to count. I live in the country on a farm along a scenic ridge road near Cameron, West Virginia. I’m too far from the Cameron city limits to pick up the internet service available to city residents, so I have to rely on my phone carrier (Frontier) for my internet and landline phone service. My service with Frontier left a lot to be desired. More often than not, I had static on my phone line, or the phone was completely out, which usually meant the internet was out too. Even when the internet was on, the speed was so slow I was unable to use a lot of applications. We have been told many reasons why the system is terrible—old technology, old lines, pipelines going through land and cutting the lines, etc., etc. We jokingly told people we were living the “frontier way”—for real. I finally threw in the towel and cancelled all my Frontier services recently. Why pay for something you can’t use?
We also did not have cell service at our house for years, but a few years ago AT&T installed a cell phone tower on my ridge. We were ecstatic because this meant we would FINALLY be able to use our cell phones in the house, right? Wrong! Despite the fact we were less than five miles from the tower, and had AT&T as our carrier, we did not have a strong enough signal to use our phones at home. Several phone calls and complaints later, we were finally told that our house just must be sitting in a dead area. So, last year we took a chance on a cell phone booster and installed it. We now have cell phone service in our living room only—but hey, it’s a start.
Many people in my area have the same problem. My father is in his 80s and has gone without a phone several weeks at a time until it was repaired. We bought him a cell phone for Christmas, and I added him to my plan. It turns out that he needed a cell phone booster to get a signal at his house too and he lives half an hour from me. It has actually been fun teaching him how to use a cell phone. I think he has finally mastered answering the phone and placing a call, so for that I’m thankful because I know if he needs help, he can at least call someone. I know it’s hard to imagine in this day and age that there are technologically deprived people like me, but there are a lot of us out there. Believe it or not, you do learn to adapt to the lack of technology. I wouldn’t trade living in the country for anything in the world (except maybe living on the beach), but it sure would be nice to live like I’m in 2020, instead of 1920.