Friday, July 27, 2012

A Dark, Stormy and Science Fiction-y Night

A stormy night, modern style. In my childhood, this would have been a science fiction dream.

I leave a few minutes early from work, because my spouse calls to tell me theWeather Channel is announcing severe storms on the way.  This is around 4:15 pm, where I live, near Binghamton, New York.

On the way home, spouse's cell phone emits a tone we've never heard.  It's lying near me and I pick it up. There is a text message - National Weather Service telling us we are under a tornado warning. (Interestingly, he doesn't have a smart phone.  I have an iPhone - which remained silent.  Why didn't I get a warning?  But that's a question for another day.)

We get home and it is so dark we head for the basement.  When all seems  OK, we emerge.

First there is the phone call form my son, via his cell phone.  He, like so many other young people, does not have a land line.

Then, my sister in law texts me. 

Meanwhile, I am posting my status on Facebook and my neighbor across the street comments. Nice that we don't have to yell at each other from our respective houses.

Then I email someone with some info I got off the Internet, and I post info about a tornado that hit in Elmira, about an hour away, on Facebook.

Then we try to call my mother in law, who lives some 150 miles from us, in a suburb of New York City..  Her internet phone is out, meaning no doubt she is without power. (This seems to happen to her a lot).

We get her on her cell phone.  She asks us to check the NYSEG (her electric provider) website to see when her power might be restored.  I do a quick search and find out the estimated restore time is 11pm tonight.

Meanwhile, my sister in law has posted on my Facebook, timeline...well, whatever...that she is leaving work, wish her luck.  Roads in her area are subject to flooding.  She lives about 20 minutes from my mother in law.

When she gets home, she gets hold of my mother in law, who advises her power just came back on.  So sis-in-law texts me.  Now we can sleep easy.

And now here I am, writing this on my blog.

I am nearly 60 years old and I have to admit that this kind of everyday thing has a science fiction-y feel to me.  None of this technology (except landlines) existed when I was growing up.  Yet, we use this technology - the cell phone, websites that tell you when your power might be restored, email- like it was as natural as breathing.  To younger people, it is as natural as breathing.

To me...well, I am still amazed. 

I think I will always be.

Are you still amazed by texting, by cell phones, by automatic alerts, by the Internet?  Or is it an everyday thing to you?


  1. Interesting post. Glad all turned out alright. I'm older than you are, and yes, I still marvel at all these things we have today. I remember a 7th grad math teacher telling us that our lives would one day be ruled by numbers. Way back in 1951, and she was right!

  2. HI Alana,

    I started studying computer science in the very early 80s, and it still feels like magic to me too. I can't imagine the kids being out and about without the ability to reach them at any point through the cell phones.

    Glad everyone is safe.

    Have a fantastic weekend.

    :- Dee

  3. I'm something of a gadget lover, so I get so caught up in playing with them that I often don't take time to marvel over them. But, when I slow down just a bit, marvel I do. Even though I worked in the wireless phone industry for more than a decade, it's still pretty amazing if you actually stop to think about it. But, yeah, for my son (20yo), it's just the way life is.


Your comments sustain me, as long as they are civil, are on topic, and do not contain profanity, advertising of any kind, links or spam. Any messages not meeting these criteria will immediately be composted, and my flowers will enjoy their contents.