Friday, January 23, 2015
Mangoes, Words, and Quotas
Remember the days before internet? What did we DO? How did we function? When my oldest daughter was working on her bachelor's, on one of her visits home she asked,"How did people do college before the Internet?"
"Big books," I answered. And lots of time.
There is no doubt in my mind how some of the most influential humans were created. You know the generic list: Good ol' Abe, Einstein, Benny of the $100 bill, MLK, Jr. I'm sure five different people would create five different lists.
Now, I'm going to share another patience developing experience we had to go through with our new life here on Guam. I would like to point out that when I write these experiences, it may seem like I'm complaining, and perhaps it is a bit of that. Honestly, though, I want everyone to know that I never expected to come here and have Guam change for me. I'm just sharing my new experiences and observations.
I have lived my entire adult life in the U.S. How could I ever have realized how comfortable I had become? Life in America makes people expect things to be done easily and in a timely manner. I find myself wondering how my daughter's earth-roaming college friends adjusted so easily to having floor holes for toilets, eating nothing but rice and beans, or being almost killed by the water they drank. Not that we've suffered anything at all like that!
So, here it is.
Since we got our phones with Docomo, I called them first to inquire about adding internet. All was going fine untiiiiiiiiil the chic remembered that they have a data cap. I just about choked on the dried mango I was chewing. Just kidding, but this would have been a perfect milk spraying moment.
Data cap? My mind tried to turn that into something other than "You've surpassed your quota of internet data and are now being charged by the MINUTE for everything you're doing."
No go. She was completely serious. She asked what we would be doing on the internet. I told her about Netflix and three to five people using personal devices at a time. She said if we watched one movie every night, about halfway through the month we will have used up all our data. My stress level was high at this point and I tried to make sure she knew it wasn't directed at her. I thanked her and went to the husband to unload.
I decided to call GTA and the first question was about data cap. They did not have one! I made her tell me again like, three times.
When we decided to go with GTA, it was, once again, a much different experience than in the U.S.
We had to go into the office. We had to be signed in to a waiting list and wait for our name to be called. I had enough time to read an entire newspaper from the base which, I am shocked, contained ad photos that would make any decent person blush.
When we finally sat with John, a very friendly and respectful young man who didn't have any lingering accent from his country of origin, he quoted a price which I then counteracted with the quote I had received on the phone. He had to leave, then returned saying he had mistakenly quoted from the business pricing. Okay. No biggie.
Out came lots of paperwork, including personal references not living with us, AND drawing a simple map of where we lived. (I had to do this for water, too, and the deposit for power was $400!!! How have ALL the people we've worked and spoken with neglected that little gem?!)
Then, he left again to copy a driver's license and get us a modem/router unit. For which I am thankful, because on the phone I was told we would have to purchase our own router.
Once he had us completely tucked into the system, his fingers danced on the keyboard to schedule a hookup date. His face said, "This looks bad," before his mouth said,"The soonest we can get you hooked up is [two and a half weeks from then]."
I think Jake and I BOTH choked on dried mango, and John actually jumped in his seat.
Are you beginning to understand why people have told us that living here is a practice in patience?
Soooo, back to my original question. Remember the days before internet? Two and a half weeks can give you such a crick in the neck. I read more, sure. I went night swimming. We did have the office's wifi over by the pool using picnic tables that tried their very best to be comfortable.
I did NOT become a self-made lawyer and orator like Abraham Lincoln. I did not allow any curiosities to become incessive and thusly create theories about energy. I did not write inspired documents about freedom from government.
Why? (I mean, BESIDES the fact that I'm not a genius nor am I foreordained to be a big player in the Plan of Salvation.)
It's because there are SO MANY ways to entertain myself and SO MUCH time to do it. I don't have to work the fields, chop the wood, weave the cloth, milk the cows, and churn the butter. Then, gather my few saved coins and hope the book store in town will have a book I've never read that I can afford.
So, Mr. Two-And-Half-Weeks, what have you to report?
Mostly, I played word games.
My previous high score on this game was 2,000,000.
Oh, and Jake doesn't eat mango in real life. That's why writing is so fun. We can make people do whatever we want them to. Ha.