Wednesday, October 7, 2009

This is a picture of the lovely house that Jonathan and I rent in Millbrook. It's a grand old place, around 150 years old and right in the middle of a gorgeous, hunt country setting. Really, it's like living in a post card. Whenever friends or family come to visit, no matter the season, they marvel at the panoramic views, the majestic oaks in the front yard, the intricate moldings in each room and of course, the very formal sweeping staircase in the entrance hall. One of our friends nearly swooned when he saw the staircase. "Wow, you could make some truly dramatic entrances! Just like Scarlet O'Hara!", he said with a tinge of jealousy in his voice. To be honest, I hadn't thought of that, because a.) we don't hold many parties and b.) I'm not so graceful and with my luck I would fall to my death in front of everybody.

As lovely as it is, there is one giant problem with living in this little Shangri-la. The house hates technology. It flat out refuses to accept a cell signal within its walls. Sometimes it allows a faint signal in the kitchen, if I'm huddled over the sink, not blinking, perfectly inert, balancing on my left foot. Other times, nothing. Not one bar. Because we don't have cable service on this part of our street, I have to rely on a verizon card for my internet connection. This worked marginally well at my desk for the winter/early spring. Then came the leaves on the trees, which blocked my already fragile signal completely and I was rendered internet-less, which equals paralyzed in my world. One day on a whim, I took my laptop out to the front porch and realized that I could sometimes get a connection out there.It wasn't perfect, but it kept me in the loop of emails, Facebook, etc. Then one gorgeous sunny day, I took my laptop out the patio table on our side yard and I discovered a magical, superfast connection. It was like I was in New York City! Bang, connected! The only drawback was that I had to be shrouded with a towel over my head and the laptop screen. It didn't seem like such a big deal at first because I was so delighted to actually have a fast connection. Then it started to rain... for the entire month of June. I was relegated to my tiny back porch, perched precariously on a tippy patio chair. My computer fort had turned into a computer prison. It seemed like anytime I would be typing something crucial, the telephone would ring and I would have to whip off the towel, carefully balance the laptop, trip over a cat, or three and make a lunge for the telephone. In a world of super fast technological convenience, this seemed to be horribly unfair and wickedly inconvenient. I just came back from a trip to SC, where my internet worked in every room of the beach house where we stayed. It like an internet fantasy for me. Surfing here, surfing there, watching youtube videos. It was sublime! Now that we are home and the weather is decidedly autumnal, I truly cannot believe that we live in the one house in America that won't allow the internet within its walls. It's just cruel. I am bundling myself up in the mornings and braving the frosty October chill, but frankly it's a matter of time as to how long I can continue doing this. Today we are experiencing intense, gale force winds, which are so forceful they have sent my hammock scuttling across the lawn like a sailboat. My computer blanket is waving about like a flag and there are white caps on the pond. At times the winds are whooshing so strongly that I have to keep peeking out from under the blanket to make sure that I'm not in danger of having flying debris crash down upon my head. This is a large price to pay for living in this pastoral setting. Maybe the house is trying to tell me something. Should I be looking outward for my inspirations, not within a specific box of four walls? Is my interior internet ban symbolic for my own introverted creativity? My writing groove has certainly been stymied for many months. Perhaps I need to gaze out to the horizon and a trove of fresh ideas will be scribbled out across the dried corn husk filled hills. Or maybe I am just numb from the cold and addled by the wind and I need to get inside for a hot cup of tea. There is one encouraging sign as the leaves go cascading off the tree branches to the ground,which is hopefully my weak cell signal will soon be restored in my upstairs office space. Either that of Jonathan will have to build me an igloo from which to write this winter.

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