Our internet went out at work yesterday afternoon. Again. It’s astounding, really, how completely dependent we all have become on the internet’s ability to function. Its not the internet itself so much as the companies that supply it, and the local company we use goes down with a depressing regularity.
Kara complained to a friend who works as an office manager about this, and our friend responded that her boss had switched from this company last summer because she got tired of this chronic problem.
I had to run a few shop errands, so I started with a stop at the internet provider, where I was told, as I always am, that it was a problem somewhere between here and Denver; it looked bad; and it would likely be two or three hours that service was down.
When I got to the Paper Clip, where they couldn’t ring up my two rolls of packing tape because of this loss of service, a fellow customer was complaining that her business had lost a customer because of the outage. She noted that Century Link, which provides all the fiber into town, was still functional. And Chris, the manager of the Paper Clip, said he wanted to ask our internet company what happened to their redundancy.
I wish I had remembered that while I was at the internet company, because they raised our rates $10 per month about three months ago, telling us it was to cover the expense of bringing a line in from New Mexico so that these constant outages would stop.
Here’s the thing I don’t get about any of this, in addition to the part where every other provider in town seemed to still be offering service: I think all our line comes from the west, while Denver lies to the east.
Every time our provider drops service, it’s because of a fault in the “line from Denver.” It’s never something they’ve done, and they are always at the mercy of this mysterious “line” that takes multiple hours to fix. Kara forwarded a text notification at 9:30 last night where the company told us this was widespread, reaching several towns (all to the west and south of us) and suggesting it might be some time before it’s restored.
There was an actual instance, I think two summers ago now, when the line into Gunnison (from the west) really was cut, and the entire town was without internet or cell service for the majority of a day. That’s when you realize how utterly dependent we are on this technology.
Yesterday, though, while it kept Kara from doing any meaningful work, it made me feel less bad when I walked back to work from the Paper Clip and only then realized that I still had the city’s utility bills in my hands. That office is next door to the Paper Clip, and I was supposed to stop there before coming back to work. But I completely forgot, even though the bills were in my hand the entire time. (This is not boding well for the next weeks of my life.)
It was hot, and I had already circumambulated downtown, but the bills were due on the 10th and this now the 15th, and no internet or phone, and no means of printing out people’s timesheets to begin payroll, so I turned back around and went to the municipal building, where I was quizzed on the length of time it takes for my car to reach a full charge on the city’s charger.
It seems as though they have looked into installing a supercharger, but Ben Cowan, the city’s finance director, said Glenwood Springs put in four of them at $75,000 each, and he was wondering how one might ever go about recouping that cost.
Without solving that problem, I trudged back through the heat to the shop, only to encounter a young man trying on a hoodie. Who wants a hoodie in this heat? Apparently a teenaged Texan enamored of Colorado’s open access to marijuana.
I’m not totally bowled (har — but not intentional) over by it, but we sell a lot of pot-related or -suggestive shirts, mostly to people from places where it’s still illegal. Like Texas.
The young man made his purchase, sort of, because we could only take down his credit card information to run whenever the internet gets restored (not the internet, the access to it), and then he asked for a bag, allowing as how his father wouldn’t be happy with this purchase.
About one minute later, his mother came in the shop and asked about our refund policy. As I reviewed this afterward, I think she was hoping to rely on us to get her out of her pickle, because this is the way she phrased it: “I suppose you have a no returns policy?” Almost, in hindsight, as if she was hoping that was the case.
Gilly was trying to explain that the sweatshirt technically hadn’t even been sold yet when the mother reached what I think was an eminently sensible conclusion: “I’m not happy about his choice, but he can keep it.” It appeared to be his own credit card, and Gilly got the impression he was 18, and I think his mother’s response was a good one.
We did remark, after they left, about how it always seems to be this one design that has this effect on families. Last year we did refund money when a teenager purchased the same print and a parent subsequently overrode that decision.
It’s kind of like the internet: always around and taken for granted. Here in Colorado, pot has been legal long enough for the novelty to have worn off, and with its ready accessibility you — or at least I — forget about its ability to shock. Particularly parents whose children are starting to push established boundaries.
So for today we will hope that this Texas mother wakes up at peace with her decision, because it was a good one, and that the “line from Denver” has been repaired, so that all will be right with the world. We could hope for some cooler weather too, but I should probably limit my supplications to the universe. Enough is enough, hm?
This has nothing to do with anything, but while I took a picture of flowers in our meadow, look what Lynn found growing there (don’t worry; Mom was nearby):