Living on Pine Mountain our first internet service was dial-up. It was slow and incredibly irritating.
What a relief when a neighbor mentioned that he had just changed to a new microwave-powered tech company out of Chico. We wasted no time signing up. It wasn’t the incredibly high speed that’s available in more populated areas, but it was much faster than we had been using.
Of course, nothing is ever perfect, but in the eight years we’ve been with DigitalPath, the service has been excellent and breakdowns have been rare. With one exception, after we called the Chico office, service was quickly restored.
Last Wednesday afternoon as I was working on a writing project, I attempted to open a research website. A little dialogue box popped up informing me that I had lost internet service. My husband tried the old shut down and reboot remedy, but that didn’t help, so he called Chico. He has much more patience than I do with being walked through the steps to get us back online.
This time a quick fix wasn’t an option. The tech advisor had Zack try several things, then gave us the bad news that it would require a hands-on repair person. Then came the really bad news — help wouldn’t arrive until Monday.
While I’m not the most organized person in the world, after the 2017 fires, I researched every Wi-Fi spot in Cloverdale. I found I could take my iPad or laptop downtown and there were several places where I could work. Besides, I could enjoy a tasty lunch at the same time at Papa’s Pizza, Eagles’ Nest Deli or Zini’s Diner. But knowing I had a lot of work ahead and didn’t want to take up space during a busy lunch hour, Thursday morning I drove to the library.
For a while I sat in the car. Since the library improved their internet service, it’s powerful and fast enough that using my car as an office worked fine. But I love libraries and eventually took my iPad inside and found a table with comfortable chairs tucked away in one of the bookshelf aisles.
Sitting there in the quiet, typing away, I remembered all the time I have spent in libraries. Since grade school, books have been the magic carpets that carried me to new worlds and introduced me to new people, new ideas and new adventures.
Over the years libraries have become much more that a treasure trove of books. Look at all the services our own library offers, thanks to the countywide system. They have shelves of DVDs and CDs with movies, TV shows and even video games. There are numerous programs for children, teens and adults including offering a site for free lunches for kids in the summer.
Recently I discovered that the county library system has partnered with a media streaming service called Kanopy. All you have to do is download the free app and with only your library card info as your password, you can watch six free movies, TV shows or documentaries each month.
I’m glad we lost our internet for a long enough time to remind me that it is a tool, not a way of life. I’m also glad that instead of withering away in the face of the popularity of technology, our library has become so much more than the little two-room library I spent hours in when I was a kid.
As I’m writing this, it’s Monday morning and our repair person will be here between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. In the meantime, I’ll finish this and make a trip downtown to send it along via the library Wi-Fi. While I’m there, I think I’ll stop in and see what’s new.
Pamela Tinnin writes from her ranch on Pine Mountain. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.