Keepin' it real · Kids · well *I* think it's funny...

Day 841: Survival Skills

In case you didn’t know, there’s a massive internet outage happening across Canada today. Despite the fact that I pay bills to three different telecommunication companies for various services, they all use the same provider—Rogers.

I found out about it when Mr. December and K came to wake me up this morning. I said something along the lines of, “Well, I guess if we want to know what’s happening we can turn on the radio in our little boom box.”

“What’s a boom box?” K asked.

Mr. December and I exchanged a Look. Then he pointed out that we should probably give the kids lessons in survival. Not wilderness survival, you understand; just information and skills that they’d need to know to function in the 1980s.

Skills like paying for things with cash (always check your change!); tuning a radio and finding the station you want; playing music using tapes or CDs and a boom box; planning ahead to meet friends at a particular time and place; using a corded landline rotary phone; hailing a taxi; using a Perlys map book to find an address and then figure out directions from a map that doesn’t talk to you.

And the classic that I grew up with: calling home from a payphone without having to pay. Anybody else remember that one?*


I started writing this post around 3:30. Six hours later, the Rogers network is still down. If I don’t post tomorrow, don’t worry—I’ll probably be making mix tapes, drinking from the garden hose, and generally floating in a haze of nostalgia.


*For those not in the know, if you dialled for a collect call, it would ask you to say your name after the tone. You could then say—very quickly, of course—a short message like “I’m leaving x station, pick me up in 20.” When the other person picks up on their end, they can hear your message and then hang up immediately, without accepting the charges. Now you know.

One thought on “Day 841: Survival Skills

  1. Hope things come back on line and yes, knowing how to live without tech is important. Thank you for posting today. You help a great deal.
    I remember pay phones……. that took coins……… and had phone books attached by a chain to the body of the phone………

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