Off the Grid

This past weekend I traveled 237 miles south to Glasgow, Pennsylvania, a small coal mining town high atop the Wopsononock Mountain. The circumstances surrounding the trip were unfortunate, my grandfather passed away. Being such a sad occasion, one of the easiest things to talk about was my Cousin Wally’s new baby.

Abigail was born just two days before my grandfather passed. Many of my family members only knew the date she was born, they didn’t know her weight or length and they certainly hadn’t seen any pictures of her. I shocked them when I was able to say that she was 7lbs 6oz and 19.5 inches long. “How do you know that?” they asked. I replied with what I thought was an obvious answer “Facebook, of course.” Perplexed, my second-cousin Eileen asked “what book, there’s a book?”

By this point in the conversation I was surrounded by six of my second-cousins. I elaborated a bit, “no, Facebook, you know, the website.” They all stared at me blankly; it was then that I realized, they had never even heard of Facebook! I spent the next few minutes trying to explain its features and benefits. they still weren’t quite getting it. So I decided I should show them, I took out my phone only to discover I didn’t have any service. I was 1,400 feet above sea level and I do subscribe Sprint, so I guess I couldn’t expect to have any bars. I asked my circle of cousins if I could use one of their phones to demonstrate. And one by one they all told me that they don’t have cell phones, because cell phones don’t work on the mountain.

In a last ditch effort to introduce them to the wonders of Facebook, I told them they should just look it up when they get home. However that wouldn’t work either, because they don’t have computers. So if any of you ever miss the good old days of landlines and letters, I have just the place for you.


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2 Responses to Off the Grid

  1. student says:

    As someone who has visited a rural mountain town in PA, I can totally understand this. It’s always crazy when something you think is so natural, is actually really foreign for someone who only lives a few hours away!

  2. Courtney says:

    It’s hard to remember what the world was like before Facebook existed. I’m always amazed at what my little sister (11 years younger) goes through in highschool opposed to what I endured at age 17 when the only cell phone in a backpack was because an over-protective mother (mine) put it there “for emergencies.” We didn’t text, we didn’t use the internet via cell, but we also didn’t experience cyber-bulling or sex-ting. I wonder what the next 11 years will bring!