Flush toilets and 24k dial-up

I am connecting to the internet at 24k. This pitiful dial-up line (provided by Qwest: We changed our name, but we’re still haunted by that obnoxious “Spirit of Service™”) must be a violation of my constitutional right to high-speed, 21st-century communications.

There is no DSL service available where I live, nor does The Phone Company™ have any plans to provide it. They would be glad to sell me a T-1 line for about $800 per month, but cheap, fast DSL is only for city people.

Thus, we discover yet another difference between Blue American and Red America—the Blues, who mostly inhabit cities, have DSL, HDTV, mass transit and a Starbucks on every corner; the Reds, who mostly live in the exurbs, have 24k dial-up, rabbit ears dripping with crumpled aluminum foil, SUVs, and a Circle-K on every corner.

But hey, all that deprivation makes us tough. By 6am, after I’ve milked Bessie, slopped the hogs, fed the chickens, plowed the lower-forty and delivered that new calf, I’ve accomplished more than any ten of your average Blues, and all before the little lady has whipped me up a stack of flapjacks and some steaming baking-powder biscuits. Mmmm-mmmm!

No, I can’t get DSL, but the air is crystal clear. My yard is brimming with birds, rabbits, lizards and wildflowers. At night, it’s so dark you can see even the faintest stars, and it’s so quiet you can hear coyotes yipping and owls hooting.

I can’t get DSL, but that just gives me more time to read, and most of the books of the world are still better than anything you can find on the internet. The public library branch is only a few miles away, and what they don’t have on their shelves they will order just for me!

I can’t get DSL, but when I go for a walk and talk to God, I don’t have to elbow my way through the crowds or keep one hand on my wallet. It’s just me and him and the mountains and the big western sky, for miles and miles.

All in all, Red America isn’t a bad place to live. I’m sure Blue America has its pleasures, but out here we have indoor toilets, running water, refrigeration, microwave popcorn… and a lifestyle that, though some might call it Spartan, is arguably more conducive to the pursuit of God.

I wouldn’t live anyplace else. But I’d still like DSL.

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  1. Well, you could always move to the Yukon, where you can have both things!

  2. It goes without saying that in all things important, Canada is superior to the US. (Or so my Canadian friends tell me, anyway.)

    But, of course, in the Yukon there is that small matter of that white stuff and sub-zero temperatures. Did I mention that it’s 72 degrees F out today? (that would be 22 C — do your thermometers even go that high?) 🙂

  3. We live pretty rural, and I love that. I love being able to step outside my door and be in the woods. (Though Madeleine L’Engle wrote some wonderful stuff in her Crossgates journals about how easy it is to feel the presence of God in the country, and how the true test of faith is whether one can be mindful of that Presence in a cramped and dirty city — but that’s another story…)

    Even so, I was pretty delighted when Verizon decided to run DSL to our town. 🙂

  4. You always (well, almost always) make me laugh. Thanks for the Madeleine L’Engle comment, and she’s probably right — but I’ll let someone else test her theory.

    Naturally you have DSL — life is pretty soft in those blue states. 🙂

  5. For what it’s worth, Cingular does data access around 10x dialup speeds via their cellular network and Sprint does it at 144k.

    I believe they’re both around $80/month….more but maybe worth it (presuming you have a laptop that is :-/ ).

    My father has been using Sprint PCS for his primary internet access for the last 8 months now….has worked quite well.