Urban Camping

I live in the city because I enjoy all the extra’s that come with not living out in the middle of nowhere. I mean, you get to certain parts of the United States and it’s tough to get an Internet signal. If you want TV, you probably have to get a satellite dish, hope for the best and settle for whatever channels they offer.

Our comfy abode is in North Seattle, a fairly developed part of the Western World. Which is why it surprised me last week when I returned home on Thursday afternoon to find everything dead, I mean EVERYTHING–Internet, TV and even our land-line phone that my wife insists we keep. I found myself “urban camping.”

I reacted the way every other red-blooded American would: I called up the provider, Comcast (or, Xfinity, if you prefer) and asked them to fix it.  First, I had to go through a series of things I had already done. Rebooting the modem, rebooting the cable box and then let them know if it had fixed the problem. It hadn’t.

At that part of the conversation, the person from X-Cast let me know that they couldn’t have a service person out to the house UNTIL SATURDAY.  It ended up being 47 hours until he arrived and found a solution to the disconnection of services.

No biggie for the average person with normal usage. But I not only rely on high-speed cable for my work, I also do a morning radio show on KRKO that requires me to upload big audio files daily. I had to resort to uploading them via my mobile phone hot spot which, in one day, exhausted my monthly data allotment before tossing me on to pretty much dial-up speed. For other file transfers, I drove over to the Starbucks parking lot and used their WIFI. I grumbled on Facebook about this little adventure and Comcast-haters piled on. With more and more people cutting the cord these days, you’d think they’d be concerned about that level of hate out there.

Now, get this: when the Comcast repair guy came out and took a look, he saw that my cable had been CUT. Up until that point, my theory had been that, since the cable ran through the trees, that squirrels had chewed through it. Nope. The repair guy showed me the clean slice. HIs theory? That a Seattle City Light truck’s extended arm had clipped it, perhaps when they were trimming a branch on the other side of the tree.

So it was not of my doing. I’m sure the cable company will refund me for those two days I didn’t have service. They’re already getting away with giving me a month of service in February, which is only 28 days long.

I wasn’t completely stranded without electronics, but this was a firm reminder of just how susceptible we all are if the cable company and the city power company ever decide to conspire against us. They would make quite a team.

I now know what that is like, and it’s not pretty. Urban camping, by the way, sucks.

Tim Hunter

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