Am I Too Dependent on Technology Companies?
They’re bleeding us dry. Rates go up without warning, “Promotions” drop off mid-way through a billing period and they claim they can’t do anything until the billing is over. I cry “Bullshit” on that one. I’ve jumped through hoops, and been thrown into voicemail hell too many times. If it means giving up my beloved Hallmark Channel, I’m willing to go that far now. I’m. So. Done.
In some ways, I’m a victim of my own dependencies; holding onto things instead of doing what I do best; finding ways around what gets in my way. Instead of getting my creative juices going, or kicking a few cans around the block while I look in unexpected places for a way around the latest obstacle, I bow down and submit to the stranglehold companies like AT&T, SCE, and Waste Management have been allowed to have on me.
I’ve seriously considered making a life for myself off the grid, but realize I’m not willing to give up creature comforts like Trader Joe’s, my books, my cats, and a warm, soft bed. Meanwhile, people like Lorena Gonzalez; puppet of the AFL-CIO, and her minions are making it harder and harder for honest people to make a decent living. I don’t think off-grid is going to get me far enough away at this point. I may have to pack up my books, my cats, and my computer and go off planet for any relief from the oppression.
Power, Telephone, and Internet: As Addictive as Drugs
A little over dramatic? Maybe. But that’s how frustrated I’m becoming. SCE fails to maintain its equipment and causes millions of dollars in damage with the fires they set. Who pays for it? Certainly not their executives in their ivory towers.
One of the big guys gets sued and pays millions in fines? Do you think those execs give up their hefty bonuses? Think again. The consumer; that’s you and me, takes it in the rear. But they have us by the short hairs. We need phones, internet, TV, trash pickup, and electricity. In some cases, the city we live in frowns on us if we opt out of some of it. I’m even hearing of laws making it illegal to live off-grid.
Could I live without TV? Probably. Electricity? Doubtful. Internet service? Not if I want to continue trying to make a living, pay my bills, keep in touch with friends and family, and so much more. In short, I’m hoisted on my own petard. I’m dependent with no idea how to break away and give them all my middle finger.
Woefully Unprepared to Live Off-Grid
To be honest, with a thumb as black as coal, I’m not confident I could even manage to feed myself, much less accomplish all the other tasks surviving without modern conveniences entails. Unlike some of my friends, I can’t build a shelter, dig a well, grow my own food, or create a light source. I could probably build a fire but it would be awkward, messy, and a lot of trial and error. All the skills I learned as a Girl Scout are long gone. OK, maybe I can still tie a knot. Heck, I’d be downright helpless if I had to live off the land. It’s humbling to admit that with all I’ve accomplished; all I’ve learned, it would be useless in certain situations.
That’s not to say I couldn’t learn how to do some of it, but maybe Max isn’t so far off the mark in bringing me fresh caught rabbits and gophers. Maybe he senses I’m one unpaid electric bill away from starvation.
So what are my options?
- Cut back on TV time, and channel selection
- Turn off the lights shortly after dark, and either use a candle or flashlight, or go to bed early.
- Find ways to work without using the internet, and learn to tolerate slower speeds
- Keep the heater turned down to 60 (Brrrrr!) and buy more blankets and fuzzy socks
- Learn to grow food (that’s actually doable if I get some expert help)
- Learn to use the extensive tool collection I’ve accumulated to actually build and repair things myself
Seeking Options to Feed My Addiction
I could sell off some of my books and maybe my LP’s, but frankly, I don’t think I’d get much for them. I could also find people to swap services with. I’m a decent cook, if they’ll do the hunting and growing. Sad to say, my writing and accounting skills would be worth even less than my books and LP’s in such an exchange.
At the moment, it’s more about blowing off steam than seriously considering most of these things (although U-verse may soon be basic channels only at this rate). I’m already being diligent about turning off lights and watching less TV. I keep my freezer full so it uses less power. I cook batch meals, and get as many of my ingredients on sale as possible. But it isn’t enough, especially when rates for what I’ve come to believe are essentials keep rising, despite any input I might offer in protest, assuming I’m even given the opportunity. (I recently sent back the form to protest rising water rates, for all the good it did me.)
On the plus side, I have enough land around my house to put in a decent garden, and I’m already eating a diet that’s heavier in fruits and vegetables than meat. All joking aside, I can’t really trust the offerings Max (my “barn” cat) brings me since stupid people still think it’s OK to put out rat poison, and there’s no way to know if said offerings have ingested some, even if I could stomach rabbit or gopher. Dancing and going to the gym regularly have improved my strength, stamina, and flexibility, making it easier to perform such tasks should I actually learn to do them successfully.
Fortunate in What Skills and Abilities I Have
Granted, I’m not truly likely to try to exist without electricity, gas, or water in the foreseeable future. AT&T has a real racket going as far as the internet though. If I don’t have at least minimal TV service or a landline in addition to internet, they not only slow my service down, but put a cap on how much I can use! How’s that for customer blackmail???
At any rate, I’ve learned to pick my battles. I finally got someone who put another loyalty discount in place for me, but it won’t kick in until I pay the current bill, which is a whopping $35 higher than last month. The rep’s best offer was to split the payment which, by the way, I could do myself through their online payment system. But what good would that do? I’d still have to pay the extra $35. Sure, it isn’t a fortune, but damn it! It’s the principle of the matter!
When all is said and done, I realize I’m fortunate. I can pay for all of these services even when the rates continue to increase, and service continues to deteriorate. (Edison’s little power surge in October cost me a new computer, which still irks the crap out of me. But it was my own fault for failing to invest in a UPS to prevent such catastrophes. That lapse in judgement was corrected when I bought the new computer!)
There are many who struggle just to keep the lights on, and to be honest, there was a time when I was one of them. I’ve come a long way, and it’s times like this I have to remind myself to be grateful for what I have, and more, what I’ve accomplished. I may not be booking Alaskan cruises, or trips to Europe, but I have everything I need, and a lot of what I want. How many people these days can say that?
Grateful for All the Blessings in My Life
My gratitudes today are:
- I’m grateful I can meet my own needs, and those of my furry kids.
- I’m grateful for the friendships I’ve formed after letting go of a lot of the crap in my life, both internally and externally.
- I’m grateful for opportunities to improve my life in so many ways.
- I’m grateful for the skills and knowledge I’ve acquired, and the ability to acquire more as I see fit.
- I’m grateful for abundance; love, friendship, opportunities, motivation, health, harmony, peace, philanthropy, and prosperity.
Love and Light
About the Author
Sheri Conaway is a Holistic Ghostwriter, and an advocate for cats and mental health. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward