Sunday, 18 November 2007

Technological Advances In Paradise

When I was sixteen, my parents left the madness and excitement of town living, and moved into the bush. I nearly died. I quickly arranged to stay with my grandmother, to save my nightlife. Electricity was a new phenomenon in Chicklands, and would cut off for weeks at a time. And water? Several hundred dollars a truckload.

There was no telephone at my parents' house, when they moved to Chickland Village, There WAS one at the workshop, out on the main road, about 100 yards away. So the very first thing I did was to ask for 100 yards of telephone wire, for my 16th birthday.

I got my birthday wish, and climbed all of the trees between the workshop and my parents' house to run an extention there. That line worked for over 10 years, I am proud to say, though in the rainy season it tended to crackle and we had conversations that went, "hello? HELLO! HELLO?"

"WHAT?"

"YES! TUESDAY?"

"WHAT?"

"OH, THURSDAY!"

"WHAT?"

"WHAT?"

"RIGHT! BYE!"

"BYE!"

I finally managed, about 6 years ago, to bribe a couple of phone company guys to expensively climb up the electricity poles and run a proper line for me. This was not as easy as I would have thought. I had to regale them on all of the things that could possibly go wrong, having small kids and all, and bush fires, and I had to make a hurried call to Dad for advice on correct government bribery protocol and precise quantity of said bribe.

Shortly after that, Mum and Dad got a computer and connected it to the internet, so amazing is the clarity of our phone-line connection. Though it still has its rainy-season moments! Or weeks, actually.

In the past two years, we have been increasingly able to make cell phone calls too! In some parts of the garden, a conversation can go on for minutes at a time before our calls are dropped! This is real progress, and I look forward to the day when I can make calls from the comfort of my own home without resorting to the old "WHAT?" conversations. Yes, progress is happening around here, faster than a speeding bullet!

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