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@#$#&% Rogers!

Written Friday July 8

3 p.m. Horrifying to realize how dependent we all are on our devices and their servers. Rogers is down, swaths of the entire country without internet – a hack or ransomware? Neighbour Stephen said, “It’s the Russians or extraterrestrials.” 

Here, since I get everything from Rogers, I have no internet, no cellphone or landline, and no TV. I cannot get in touch with anyone, and my only knowledge of the outside world is from CBC radio, which repeats the same thing over and over: Rogers knocked out, no word on why or when it’ll be back. I can’t check Twitter, the Globe, the local TV news channel CP24. I can’t phone my kids to tell them I’m okay and find out how they are.

 This morning, went down the street to see if Craig and Joe had internet and found out that the whole country was down; it hadn’t occurred to me. Stayed and talked to them on their enclosed garden patio for an hour and a half. Most pleasant. We discussed the growing violence and intolerance in our world — human vileness, once suppressed, released into the ether by Pandora Trump. Heard about Joe’s coming out as a gay man in Windsor, his first affair in high school, how much the new freedom for gay people means to him now. They are dear friends, wonderful people, but we’ve never sat and talked at length before. So, the up side. 

I’m supposed to go to a huge party near St. Clair and Spadina tonight, was going to take an Uber. No Uber. Need to check the address to see how to get there by TTC – no Google maps. I have a real Toronto map somewhere, will check that. But how will I get home after? By TTC again, if it’s running. Perhaps I shouldn’t go.

 Tomorrow, Annie and I were going to drive north to Bracebridge to spend a few days at Ruth’s cottage. But she’s on an island; we have to phone to tell her we’ve arrived so she can come in the boat to pick us up, but now we can’t. I hope she’s not alone there now without internet. Will we go? I can’t contact Annie to ask. 

No email! No telephone or texting. If this had been a few days ago and I was supposed to talk by phone to radio stations across the country … Or had a deadline or was awaiting urgent news. 911 is down, at least for some. I have nothing to fuss about except a party and this haunting feeling of isolation.

What if electricity went down? What if everything suddenly collapsed? I could eat the cucumbers in my garden and that’s about it. Rhubarb. Green tomatoes. Tons of basil. What flowers could I eat? What use are flowers to the hungry? 

Can’t do Wordle. Can’t tape Upstart Crow which I’ll miss if I go out tonight. Can’t text my kids!

Did I use today to work in tranquillity, freed from the tyranny of social media and email? I did not. I had a haircut and watered and read and went shopping at Doubletake, where I bought two plain drinking glasses, a Uniqlo sweatshirt, and a shapely black Irish linen dress I may never wear. Fun. 

Talking to myself, that’s what I’m doing now, since I can’t talk to anyone else. Monique and JM are away. What would I do without neighbours? I’m finding out. Thank God for Joe and Craig, who are often away but home now. 

5.45. Robin my upstairs tenant came home, unaware of the crisis; he was at work all day and they have Bell. He lent me his phone, since he has a non-Rogers server. Tried Annie, Sam, Anna, Thomas, Anna’s neighbour Greg – nothing. Called JM who has Bell, happy to hear his voice if just on the machine, left a message. Got through to Ruth’s phone at the cottage, left her a message about what’s happening, that she can call Robin’s cell if she wants to get in touch. At least we know we can get through to her if we get there, maybe from a payphone in town. 

Supposed to get dressed to go to this party. Maybe best to go and take my mind off this.

9.30. Back early from the party – didn’t want to take TTC in the dark – and we’re suddenly back on. 43 emails! Mail coming in but still can’t get many websites or TV stations. It was on and now is going off again. Time to go to bed. 

Next morning: Seems to be up and running fine now. The world opens up. I was frantic yesterday. Something to think about – that dependency. 

Off to cottage country. Alanna Cavanaugh the artist who did two of my book covers is coming over to use the house as a studio while I’m away. 

Last evening, I took TTC to the party, a going away event for old friends curator Jessica Bradley and photographer artist Geoffrey James, who are moving to Montreal, and for Geoffrey’s 80th birthday. A huge house, the entire backyard filled with extremely chic art world folks, a jazz band with Geoffrey sitting in on trumpet and their son Charles on bass, then a bluegrass band with their son Matt playing fiddle. Waiters in black circulating with delicious food. Happy to sit with writer David McFarlane and his wife Janice, the only people I knew besides J and G. David joked that when country people imagine what Toronto people do, this is what they have in mind.

Yes, milling about with artists eating gourmet finger food to a jazz band is what we are always doing. LOL. 

Thank you for being there, unseen readers on the other side of this screen, connected by the great powers of the mystical master Mr. Rogers. 

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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This blog evolves. It once was about travels. Now it’s a reason to be at the keyboard that I value.

Theresa Kishkan
Theresa Kishkan is a writer living on the Sechelt Peninsula on the west coast of Canada.

I walk on. With my feet, and in my mind as well.

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Wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, consider this space a place for reflection and pause.

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