The next wave of technology.

This week I am doing a REALLY important video conference with people in the U.S. I'll be using Skype, which is the way I video chat with my family each week.

Here's the thing though: I've been nervous about this video conference because the Internet in Palau has the same speed and capabilities they used during the Dark Ages.

I'm seriously so glad I wasn't born in the Dark Ages. Can you imagine going your whole life hardly being able to access Facebook to see pictures of your friends burning witches, or whatever people did during the Dark Ages?

What this means for Skype is that the quality of the video and audio and the likelihood that it won't work at all or will drop mid-conversation is totally unpredictable. Sometimes when I Skype with my parents, it's fine. But more often we spend half an hour screaming into our computers "CAN YOU HEAR ME?" while frozen images of one another's distorted faces mar the other's screen.

So, in planning this video conference, I offered that if there is any problem with Skype, we could switch to the phone, which is almost always reliable. And fortunately they were amenable to that.

Here's my phone situation: I have a very crappy 2003 Nokia cell phone (the phone of Palau), which doesn't have great sound quality and which charges roughly $200,000 a minute to make or receive any calls whatsoever.

I also have my office phone, but I don't dare to try to do this Skype meeting from my office because the Internet at the courthouse is somehow EVEN WORSE than the Internet in my apartment, which means we would most definitely have to just go straight to the phone. Plus, you can't call my office phone directly so calls go to a secretary somewhere and this meeting will be in the middle of the night, because Palau is 943 hours ahead of the U.S., when mysterious secretary will not be around.

So yesterday I did some investigation and I found out that I actually have a land line in my apartment that I have never used. So off I ran (literally) after work to Palau's "department store" to choose from the three phone options available. Then I ran (literally) the three miles home, giant box in hand.

Guys. I felt like the Weasley dad from Harry Potter trying to get a "muggle" device to work. I have not had a land line in my home since, like, 2003. Is that right?! Yeah, I think it is. 2003! And the idea that I could plug this simple contraption into a hole in the wall and make phone calls from my house was baffling to me.

Daniel was laying on the couch reading his book while I sat on the floor trying to figure this thing out.

Daniel: So, how does it work?

Eli: I'm not sure. It only has this one cord thing but I don't see a cord to plug it into an outlet?

Daniel: What do you mean?

Eli: Like, for power.

Daniel: Oh. Does it use batteries?

Eli: Um . . . no, there's not a place for batteries on the phone.

Daniel: Weird.

Eli: Oh wait! I think it's working! Will you call this number? xxx-xxxx.

Daniel called it and the phone began ringing and I swear to you we actually started jumping up and down because it was so exciting. And then I said, "isn't technology amazing!?"

And right then I realized that at some point things became very backwards. Because now the thought that I can plug something into the wall IN MY APARTMENT and make local phone calls and recieve long distance calls for free seems more amazing than being able to make phone calls from anywhere to anywhere on my 2003 Nokia.

And for the next thirty minutes we texted our friends, telling them to call our land line so we could try it out. BECAUSE IT WAS SO EXCITING!

Maybe one day we'll even get a CORDLESS phone! Can you imagine!? A CORDLESS PHONE! Then we would be able to walk all over the house talking to all of our friends!

I was like a teenage girl in 1995 who just got a phone in her room as I blabbed on and on to anyone who would listen. And then I heard the neighbor, with whom we apparently share the line, pick up her phone and start making a call.

Gosh I love living in 1942.

~It Just Gets Stranger