Thursday, June 21, 2007

Dead Zones

Currently, there are two known locations on the continental United States that do not have a mobile signal nor any broadband Internet access. One of these locations is so remote, you'd have to dog sled to a negative visibility airstrip somewhere in Minnesota, look for a siding-patched trailer, drop kick the door and begin to compel not only the guy inside, a twitchy pilot named Shuka, but also your surviving dogs to join you in the single prop Cessna parked out back. Next, you'd have to fly (if you can call it that) over two peaks so high you'd get brain freeze just by looking at them and then, swoop over crevasses wedged with the middle-aged bodies of adventure-seeking Orange County accountants. Finally, you'd land on a frozen lake. As you hike towards the middle of the lake with your cell phone in hand, you'll start to see and feel the modern world drift away from you, one painful bar at a time. Yes, welcome to the first dead zone.

The second one is in Montgomery Bell State Park, just an hour away from Nashville, Tennessee. You get here by leaving your very comfortable apartment in Playa Vista, CA (where there is so much unsecured wi-fi, an erection is probably all you need to check email), heading to the airport and plopping down in the "B" line, all the while, promising yourself never to book on an airline named after only one direction. At some point, after being toss fed a creative mix of snacks that you're pretty sure never involved someone with a culinary degree nor would ever be titled "Springtime Variations on the Vendings of My Youth", (though wouldn't it be great if they were) you land. You drive through roads that your GPS TomTom doesn't even know and it starts to say to you, "Are you sure you want to turn right here? I saw a movie once and it didn't end well if you turned right here." But you still turn right and left and before you know it, you reach an outpost of humanity that some people call a State Park. This is the type of place people like having family reunions because if you and your family end up killing each other, no one outside would ever find the bodies.

And so here I am. My cell phone lays stubbornly exhausted on the night stand, not quite able to accept the realization that there are no bars to be found. There is not a LAN outlet in site. Around here, you'd be more likely to find a bear kissing a wolf than a wi-fi signal. I am truly and sadly in a dead zone.

Earlier this evening, in an act of desperation, I yanked the cord from the room's phone and plugged it into my laptop, feeling like I just stole an old lady's wheelchair to joyride down the hill. I post now after spending nearly 2 hours signing up for NetZero dialup. As I type, the NetZero Taskbar application mocks me from it's "always on top" throne in the upper right of my screen, reminding me of my servitude.

What can I say? I'm nothing without internet access.

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