Did The Stick Come In Yet?

Sep 09

Did The Stick Come In Yet?

The “stick” is a wireless Internet USB that I ordered from the local phone carrier while I was in Samos, Greece in August. Samos is a small island in the Aegean. My mom was born in Samos, and I’ve been going there since I was a kid. We have a family house and each summer I make my way there. The thing is that the entire island is wired (or wireless), except for the small stretch of space where our house is located. There are only about 20 homes, and most people don’t care about being connected to the web. I am one of the very few who have to “absolutely be connected for work.”

I arrived Sunday and on Monday I was at the local shop that sold the sticks that would connect me to the worldwide web. “Yes, we sell them, but we don’t have any,” is what the sales guy told me. I looked to my left and saw about 50 stick packages on display. The guy saw my disbelief, and said, “Those boxes are empty, just for show.” He then told me that they should be getting a supply in by Friday or Saturday. “Check back with us.”

Each day after that I would make my way to a local café in town to check on my emails, work, and pass by the shop to find out about the stick. He finally got sick of me and told me he would call when the stick arrived. On Saturday when I didn’t hear from him, I thought I’d give it another shot. “No stick. There is a strike with the boats in Athens, so maybe Tuesday we will have them. Anyway, I don’t think it will work where you live.”

Hmmm. I was going to try anyway. Driving into town every day to work was messing up my vacation. On Tuesday, the stick arrived and I made my merry way back to the part of the island that was devoid of the Internet. Fingers crossed, I connected the stick to my Mac and hoped for contact. I saw the bars appear and ever so slowly connection was made. It worked! It took forever, especially if I was looking at a popular site…but it was better than nothing…better than driving to town once, twice a day.

I got used to the slow speed. When large files were downloading I would eat. Or I’d go for a swim. In fact I got so used to working like this, I even went on Facebook and posted pictures, even chatted online with my boyfriend back home. (Okay, he kept asking if I was still there as the connection would drop…but we did get some words in.) I posted a blog. Read other blog posts. Checked my emails several times a day. I was connected.

And then one night I thought, “This is crazy, why am I on the computer. I’m on vacation. Yes, there are certain work things I need to do while I’m here. But why am I on Facebook? Blogging?” Why do so many of us (not all) feel that we need to always be connected wherever we are or whatever we may be doing? Tweeting, texting, posting, blogging, emailing.

And then I remembered reading a blog by Amber Naslund on why she blew off her blog (she was taking a break, on vacation). I read a blog post by Larry Neilson, with whom I work, on why he was missing in action (his son was getting married and he was on vacation). And then I thought, “Where is that stick? Let me just put the cap on it.”

5 comments

  1. Kim McGraw /

    I was also on the small island of Samos, Greece visiting Annie. I could care less about being connected to anything having to do with my job. I was on vacation. I didn’t make any calls, answer emails or do anything related to work.

    Vacation is all about freeing yourself from the 9 to 5.

    I soaked up the sun, drank Ouzo, made new friends, reconnected with old friends and had a blast.

  2. Annie George /

    Oopah!

  3. Deborah Lansing /

    Oopah!!!!!! When I am on vacation, I stay as far away from the computer as possible…so far away that I really have to focus upon my return to work to remember my 10 plus passwords and codes………… I need a vacation!

  4. Ron Williams /

    Bravo Kim! When you are on “vacation” the last thing you should be concerned about is being “connected.” Isn’t vacationing all about “the disconnect?”

    But I understand the need to be wired in, even when vacationing, if there is an urgent work need that simply “can’t wait.” But it does deter from the reason you’re out enjoying some beautiful land far from home… “to forget all your worries and relax!”

    And of course, once you do get connected, there’s Facebook, and Twitter and all of these sites that have become intertwined with our new ideological principles of social-networking that are seemingly unavoidable…

    Cap that stick! And go bask in the sunshine, for all those things you left behind will surely be awaiting your return.

  5. I, too, have had the luxury and privilege of being on the small island of Samos, Greece, visiting Annie. (Kim, maybe we should get t-shirts!) It was far too long ago, and yet I can still recall that after a few days there, happily sweating, napping, eating, and wandering under the Aegean sun, I found myself more rested and relaxed than I had been literally in years. I think the experience would have been tainted if I’d been trying to finagle an Internet connection during that time, and I’m so glad I didn’t have the option. In fact, my mind was so “wiped clean” by my vacation, I found I’d forgotten the entry password once I returned to work several days later. Now that’s a good time!

    Now, with everyone and everything so darned connected — these days, who CAN’T you follow on Twitter — it’s wonderful to “drop the stick” every now and then, and focus without interruption on nothing but the waves on the shore and the person beside you.

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