We were traveling last weekend, and it was a struggle to live under such backward and primitive conditions for four whole days.
Sleeping on the floor? No, that wasn't the problem. The queen-sized air mattress was actually quite comfortable. Well, except for the second night, which got a bit squishy. By morning we had figured out that an air mattress left up for a couple of days tends to lose a little air. After we learned to top off the tank at bedtime, we were fine.
Having only one bathroom for four adults? Hey, we could manage. Members of this family have survived quite a few holiday visits where over a dozen people shared one bathroom, and people were still friendly by the time they went home.
No dishwasher? No problem. I rarely use the one we have at home.
Having the mailbox a quarter of a mile away? Great. It was a good excuse for a walk in the crisp fall air.
It's no problem to live without many of the comforts of home for a few days. It may even be good for one's character.
But there are limits. Here's where inconvenience morphed into real hardship:
Cell phone coverage. What coverage? From half a bar to no bars to the dreaded battery-eating "Searching System" message.
Internet access. Oh, it was there—we weren't quite as primitive as all that. But dial-up only. That's spelled S-L-O-W. Checking email was a project, waiting for a website to load provided ample time to memorize every stray piece of paper on the bulletin board, and downloading a photo was a long-term commitment.
Now that was roughing it.
For four whole days, no one could reach me on my cell phone. I could barely check my email once a day. I couldn't read my local paper online. Browsing Facebook? Forget it. Twitter? No way. Oh, wait, I don't Tweet anyway. Never mind.
Getting back to my familiar electronically in-touch world, I felt the relief of an addict who has just scored a long-overdue fix.
I checked my phone for messages. There weren't any. I checked my email. There was nothing that needed immediate attention. I checked Facebook. I hadn't missed any new pictures of grandkids.
For four whole days, I had been virtually out of virtual touch.
And nobody even noticed.