We lost internet for a few weeks, and it was a painful reminder of how fragile my sense of connection really is.
We live way the hell up in the mountains. Our closest neighbors are within distant earshot, but not eyesight, due to the trees. I depend on the internet to keep me connected to the happenings in the world, and to my family and friends. Without it, I was totally alone. Just me and the dogs in the middle of the forest. My boyfriend would come home at the end of his day to find me wild-eyed, so eager to talk to another human that I couldn't even wait for him to get in the door.
Besides being desperate for contact, I was unable to answer surveys or look for housing, I couldn't apply for services, or look up recipes, or search for diy fixes to minor home repairs.
My neighbors are kind and allowed us to vampire off their wifi during visits, but we tried to be sparing with our usage as to not abuse our relationships. They probably wouldn't have minded, but I'd rather go without than interrupt their peace. If I was in school, however, I likely would have unapologetically set up camp.
Also during this time, we got a 48-hour notice from the water company, and had to pay a massive electric bill. The money was coming in, it was just a lot of unfortunate timing, and we're back online and mostly in the black on our utility accounts, but now we're already nearly broke for the month and are low on food. We renewed the food stamps this morning (and in an ideal world we wouldn't have ever stopped with them, but the renewal process is a pain and it seems like even when we get it right, there's a problem and we have to start all over again. It's a whole 'nother post.) and I'm not sure how long it'll take to process, but we plan to check out the free food pantry tomorrow, as long as we have enough gas to get there.
It's stressful being poor, and exhausting. I need to see a dentist, but we can't afford it. HOW is dental care not a mandatory part of health care? I'm on Medicare, WHY do I not have an affordable dental option?
And with all my woes, I'm one of the luckier ones. I'm white, I have an advocate, I have the education and access to information to protect myself, or at least to try. We have the means in this country to provide ALL of our citizens with a standard of living that should be a shining example of what civilized behavior and compassion look like. But instead, we ignore, relocate, imprison, mock, blame and fail our poor, while the rich get richer every day.