Wednesday, May 30, 2012

11) Incommunicado

An adaptive feeling, this being without internet for four days. Sydney airport had a free wifi connection. Whatever electronic connections were made by me, emails sent, messages relayed, were placed last Sunday 27th May. Then there was the four plus hours flight to Perth, with a subsequent car ride into a sense of obscurity. Not that there be anything actually wrong with this comparative silence, for Flinds Cottage here on its promontory over the Guildford billabong beside the Swan River is a paradise of its own, but the sense of being cut off from regular correspondents is quite, well, disabling. It is 5:35 a.m. as I write, Wednesday, 30th of May. The birds have not yet woken up. Sunrise is scheduled for 7:10. Yes, Nancy has a television to tell us these things. Yes, we have a phone on a cord, and yes, a cordless phone too. But we have no Internet. So we could not instantly get information on Sir Arthur Douglas Street, M'Lady's father. Nor could we check out the origins of the Phoenix story, or connect with so many others by Facebook, emails, or Skype. We had to spend time talking, or reading. And we had only each other except when there came a visitor, like Nancy's daughter, Linda, for tea. Or like Nancy's grandchild, Gabby, with her own eleven month old daughter, Giselle, and their big white dog, Hercules. Even when the little old lady across the street suddenly collapsed on the pavement, just as Linda (Gabby's mother, Giselle's grandmother, Nancy's daughter) arrives to join us for tea, Gabby has to use the conventional phone against the kitchen wall to call the ambulance; none of our cell phones were operational. And mine, certainly, appears dead without wifi, roaming charges excepted. No, being without communication, electronic, instant communication, is like being left in the dark. Well, the dark ain't so bad. Around me as I lie abed are my two bags almost ready for transport to the airport. Gabby will come and fetch us at 10:45. Sydney, and Justin, and Rob, are for tonight's adventure. Right now I still await the birds, so am content to type away and listen to music through the ear-phone of my new i-stick that Mike gave me as a present. He's put some 500 of his songs on it! Nancy lies asleep, I hope, in her room down the corridor. She is usually up by 7:30, I've learned over the last two mornings. At 8:30, almost precisely, the phone will ring. It is Nancy's health care courtesy call, ascertaining, quite frankly, whether, now that she's 90, she's alive. Quite the thing to be called upon to account for oneself so unsubtly! But comforting to know at the same time. It would be awful not to have anyone know that one is totally incommunicado for several days. At least the daily calls provide for connection. So too even for the music I hear in my ears; the Afrikaans of Koos Kombuis is alien in this land of Oz, the disparity between a time over there and a time over here seemingly too disjoint. Disjoint. That's how it feels to be without my obsession, the immediacy of e-news from Facebook and friends. Preciseness can appear so trite until we are in dire need. But for some password, some exacting string of numbers, Mike's lending of an Internet stick just has not worked. It's twin beams of blue light are so strong they've served as a night light in this unfamiliar bedroom. But despite my phoning him, and his phoning a technical expert, and that Tommy-mate trying back and forth long-distance messages with me, at least five times, we cannot crack the code. We remain essentially incommunicado. The lesson is, check your addresses, know your numbers, verify your existence, and always be in touch. Or else life indeed may seem to be without a call. Ah! It's 6:40, the tweets of birds begins!

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