Down the Backroads: Truly Connecting in a Connected World

Posted on Sep 10, 2019

My youngest son recently moved back to college with the help of good ole mom and dad who graciously allowed him to try apartment living for the first time instead of a dorm.

After getting everything into place, his first request (actually it was a complaint) was to help him get logged on to the supplied WIFI.

After several attempts we were unable to complete the mission and he began to get panicked. But we promptly called the owner who assured us we would have WIFI the next day.

You would have thought they told us next month by the look on my son’s face. It was then I made the mistake of saying, “Can’t you live one day without being connected to the internet?”

He promptly told us how badly he needed to check his school email, how badly he needed to make sure all was ready for his upcoming online class, and how badly he needed to do a little research about soil sciences to be ready for his classes due to start the following day.

There’s nothing like waiting till the last minute! By the way, I did not say that out loud. However, his need for connectivity was obvious and I thought to myself, how badly these students really did need to have this service available.

The discussion also made me think back to my youth when we didn’t such a thing. Heck, I remember living in a house with no telephone. And those neighbors who did have a phone usually were on party lines.

I don’t expect anyone under the age of 40 or 50 to know what a party line is or was, but it was anything but fast and often times unavailable, which sounds like the internet service in my neck of the woods but that is another story, for another time.

My point is, we didn’t have such connectivity when I was younger, nor did we really need it, or so we thought. I found it to be a big deal when my dad installed a CB radio in the car. Suddenly, we could communicate with folks all over the area with a simple click of a mic key.

I thought that was the coolest thing in the world. Granted, it was useless for research unless you were checking in with our resident CBer know it all, and yes, we all knew who he was.

The CB wasn’t great for conversing late at night when everyone was asleep. And it didn’t have the greatest range in the world. You had to move into the world of ham radios to get any real distance.

But that radio was a connection to my small world when I got one in my first car. Incidentally, the radio outlasted the car. As archaic as it sounds now, the old CBs were a way to connect to other people in other places while on the move, until the invention of cell phones.

In remembering how valuable it seemed to me at the time, I realized how necessary WIFI and connectivity is to my son and his fellow students, now.

And to them, a day without it seems unbearable. Don’t get me wrong, I think we could all do with a little less logging on and a lot more of face to face interaction. But in this world so reliant on technology, I suppose we all need to be connected. We have come to depend on it so much.

Just so you know, my son got his WIFI working and he survived fine without it for 24 hours. I did however make one more suggestion to him before I left him at school that day. I suggested he ride out to the nearby truck stop and invest in a CB. They still make them, you know. Regardless of the method, I hope we all stay connected, as we travel down the backroads.