New Castle News

Josh Drespling

June 30, 2012

Josh Drespling: Frustrations turn to fun during the loss of utilities

NEW CASTLE — I stepped into the house after a long day’s work, hoping to relax and kick back with the little one and claim a calm evening at home.

As I breached the threshold of the front door I was greeted by an eerie silence. There was not a single sound coming from the house. There was not a refrigerator running, no squeaky ceiling fan nor was the air conditioner churning away. Only a deafening silence greeted me.  

As I stood motionless in the kitchen I felt a cool summer breeze blow across the house through an open window and I could hear the lovely song of the birds perched in the nearby trees. My digital clock greeted me with a blank stare and I realized the electricity was out.

With my expectations dashed I prepared myself for a sans-technology evening. I had to figure out how to entertain a 6-year-old who is completely immersed in computer games, Netflix and playing with the light switch (well, maybe not the last one).  

First, we tackled the old standby and played hide and seek for a while and followed that with a quick round of ball in the yard. It was beginning to get dark so we headed inside and, to my surprise, the electricity was back on, but the cable and Internet were not. The lack of cable and Internet was all for the better as my daughter and I curled up on the couch with a pile of her favorite books. We plowed through one and then another and even a third. She never once complained about the lack of video games, movies or TV that she was missing.

Eventually, she dozed off in my lap and I carried her to her pink-clad bedroom.

Amazingly, we had a fulfilling and fun evening without lights, without computers, Netflix or WiFi. We did it without email, Facebook or Spotify. We did without ABC, NBC or HBO.  We did without air conditioning when it was 90 degrees, you know.

We repeated this peaceful and retro scenario for the next three days and added in a good bit of coloring and homemade silly games. Eventually, my Internet and cable service provider succumbed to rational thought and listened to me as I explained to them there was a tree limb on their lines near the end of my driveway. It took me speaking with three different customer service reps and a level two technician before they would even send a guy out. They insisted that the problem was with my equipment and kept asking me what was on my screen or what buttons where flashing on my modem.

“No,” I said. “Listen to the words I am saying: there is no signal coming into the house, nor does my neighbor have service.”

Finally, three days later, a service tech showed up at my house. I walked him over to the tree limb and showed him what the customer service rep refused to believe.

He said, “You told them it was a tree on the line and they sent me out?”

“Yes,” I replied.

He tested the line and told me I was right that there was no signal and the line was dead. He stated he would have to call in a code “301” to get a line crew out to fix the problem. I told him thank you and explained that that is what I have been trying to get somebody to do for four days.

With the exception of dealing with the big corporate conglomerate that I have let control my life, the experience was pleasant and forced me to exist without the bombardment of media. It also opened the door for a plethora of quality time with my child.

She loved every moment of the personal interaction that we shared, and I too will cherish the few days that we spent without all the distractions.


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Josh Drespling
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