Friday, May 12, 2006


In technology I trust (???)

What a comfortable life I enjoy in the Midwestern USA! I have everything I could want: electricity, reliable high-speed Internet service, and running water. I've enjoyed all of these comforts for so long I've come to take them for granted. Too bad they're not always here for me, because when I don't have them I miss them more than I ought.

Take, for instance, this past week. As the week began, all was peaceful and quiet here at Stately Dave Manor, or so it seemed. If only I'd heeded the harbinger of online doom that had arrived in my email inbox a couple of weeks before. My ISP, I was told, was planning major upgrades for the next few weeks. They expected the upgrades to pass without notice, but in case a glitch did occur, all I'd have to do was to reboot my cable modem, router, and PCs. It all sounded relatively painless in the email, but this rose-colored report fell well short of describing the pain that was going to ensue. The outages were numerous and lengthy, and rebooting modem, router, and PC seemed to avail nothing. This went on for the good part of the week, with the ISP all the while claiming that only 5% of their customers were affected by glitches. Strange, then, that 100% of my friends and acquaintances who use the same ISP complained of exactly the same glitches. For me at least, this was a relatively minor annoyance, since I continued to have a working Internet connection at my office and I rarely have to work from home, but yet it was only the beginning of my technological woes.

The next part of my story took place early in the week. Blessed with a fairly sizable income tax refund, I went out and ordered a new clothes washer. In order to be at home for the installation of the new washer, I took a vacation day from work. Little did I suspect that that day was to be the day that my water service was to be cut over to a new water main, but so it was, and thus my water was completely shut off at the time that the delivery guys installed my new washer. As icing on this less-than-tasty cake, a substantial amount of rust was introduced into the plumbing when the water finally was turned back on, and some of this managed to stain the first load of laundry I ran through my brand-new washer. Subsequent treatments have partially, but not completely, restored that set of garments to their original appearance, thus leaving me with an enduring reminder of that day's fairly disruptive events.

Finally, to wrap up the week, what could be more exciting than a power outage? Yes, that's right, and my local utility was happy to serve one up for me in spite of the utter lack of inclement weather. To make things more interesting, this outage wasn't a total blackout: it was merely a brownout. Would that it had been a blackout, because in that case I wouldn't have enjoyed the uncertainty that comes along with wondering which of my appliances and gadgets may have been damaged while trying to operate on substandard voltage. In the end, God was merciful to me: by unplugging my critical devices and then switching off the main circuit breaker, I was able to take everything offline during the remainder of the brownout. In fact, I actually went out to eat and shop in hopes that my neighborhood would be brought back to normal by the time I returned. In God's providence, that was indeed how it turned out. Also, I'm pleased to report that all of my electronics seem to be fully functional.

Actually, all of these very brief outages--although seemingly piled up on top of each other--showed both God's mercy and His sanctifying hand. Through the minor annoyance and deprivation I suffered during these glitches, I was reminded of just how transient the comforts I take for granted truly are, not to mention how much I've come to rely on them. What a useful reminder this trio of glitches has been to me!

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