Friday, February 21, 2014

My Day Without Data

We are one of those families with a monthly data allowance.

Twenty precious gigs.

Though we don’t stream or YouTube as much as we’d like, that amount is usually sufficient to meet our needs. But this month—due to what I am sure was a malware attack—we sit at 19.908GB with less than 24 hours to go before the start of next billing cycle. In the interest of avoiding overage charges, we have decided to go this final stretch without using any data.

(This will be the soundtrack of my day...I'm almost positive.)

And in the interest of transparency about my data dependence, I shall chronicle my Day Without Data for your amusement and edification.

Let us begin.
6:13 AM. My phone buzzes and chirps, awakening and alerting me to a new text message. It’s from a dear friend with whom I recently connected on Facebook after more than 10 years of no contact. Though excited to hear from her, I cannot help but notice the New Chapter alert for one of my favorite Fanfiction stories just below her text. Frustrated already, I turn away from the phone wondering how I will survive the next 18 hours.

6:52 AM. I need the weather forecast to determine if Jonan can wear his favorite kelly green, short-sleeved shirt today (atop his long-sleeved black thermal shirt, of course) without freezing. Reaching for my phone to check the Weather Channel app, I remember my DWD pledge and slam it face down on the bed. All four morning news stations spend five straight minutes talking about something other than weather for the first time in two months, so I click off the television and grab the green shirt. He’ll survive.

7:17 AM. Sitting in the kitchen watching Horace’s phone blink and beep: Bleacher Report, Bible Gateway…all manner of updates and emails clamoring for his attention. Yet he walks away and leaves the phone undisturbed, seemingly without a care in the world. He is a man of great inner strength.

7:51 AM. While walking Jonan to the car of the God-sent family who takes him to school every day, I slip on some ice, wipe out completely, and hurt my left wrist as I hit the ground. The worst part? I can’t even update my status about it.

7:57 AM. So I call my mommy instead, and 5,000 Likes cannot compare to her tsks and sympathy. Though I do confess to wondering how much data a tiny Tweet would take. What can I say? I'm a work in progress.

Mommy makes everything better.

9:06 AM. On the phone with my aforementioned long-lost friend for an hour-plus. Facebooking is nice and satisfies a quick need, but nothing replaces the unique cadence of her voice, the immediacy of her laughter and wisdom. Right now, I’m not missing my data too much. 

10:49 AM. A simultaneous text and Skype alert inform me that a dear but faraway friend has just received some disappointing news. Though we text about it, the ebb and flow of our Skyping is lost, and I ache to send her an emoticon teddy bear hug. In this moment, data is more than a means to pass the time; it is a bridge between hearts with too many miles between them.  

10:56 AM. After the above texting, I check my notifications—because I’m a glutton for punishment—and discover yet another favorite Fanfiction story has updated…twice. The struggle is real, my friends.

11:58 AM. Fun times with Braylee: an impromptu matching game, reading Dixie and the Class Treats, and a tricolored mani-pedi for her. This no data thing ain't half-bad.

1:14 PM. Neither Horace nor I have used data today, yet with all our automatic updates and notifications, we have jumped to 19.949GB. A whole 0.041GB through no effort on our parts? It is clearly time for some shut-eye. I curl up in bed and cross my fingers, hoping to somehow awaken on the other side of midnight.

2:58 PM. So much for that.

4:13 PM. After idling in a post-afternoon nap stupor for about an hour, I grab the needed supplies and begin retwisting the roots of my locs while watching a DVD of Oprah’s Legends Ball. The breathtaking array of beautiful, accomplished, pioneering black women gets me to crying, and only when the phone rings do I get myself together.

Thank you, Oprah, for thanking them. 
5:06 PM. A different friend is on the line with a medical update on her son’s allergies. As I am pleased to often serve as her personal concierge, I make a list of products and services she will need and look longingly at my laptop. *sigh* How much longer?

6:01 PM. My children are making all sorts of ruckus in the hall, so I bring the noise into my room. We sit on the bed and attempt to complete a foam tile mosaic of a brachiosaurus. The tedium of the work dissolves their interest—Jonan especially as he’s obsessed with getting the tiles perfectly straight—and they eagerly flee for parts unknown. That was a fun 18 minutes.

6:19 PM. Ditched by my kids, I cue up The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn 2 (Special Features disc) and choose the six-part documentary. Periodically pausing to reply to a text from my disappointed faraway friend—whose day has only worsened in the past seven hours—I stop just short of weeping again when the credits begin to roll. And I mean justshort. It’s been a rough day.

9:04 PM. The children are asleep, the house is quiet, and I glance at the clock on my phone, amazed at my fortitude. Our data usage remains at 19.949GB, and with three hours to go, I call it a night. Turning my phone off, I give it no further thought…

…until waking up this morning at 5:21 AM to check all my messages. 

Next time, we'll talk about what my DWD challenge taught me. But right now, my phone just beeped.

Gotta go!

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