Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Didn't Think I Needed That Until Just This Second...

Online shopping...fun, isn't it?
Never mind the fact that we're all freaking out on the Buy Sh*t You Don't Need Train To Holiday Insanity.  What's super-fun is that when you go online to compare prices on things, and you get the other suggestions, like, shopping for a Wii somehow makes me an interested party in a Stationary Band Saw, for example.
I....didn't know I wanted that....but now I totally DO!
Kidding!  Juuuust kidding....!  Where the hell would I put it?
Anyway....I'm doing my online plinking around a bit early, because A) I don't leave my house on Black Friday, usually, and certainly don't get up early to do so, if I do, and B) I do hit up some online shopping on Black Friday, but this year, we"ll be away from home, so I want to be sure of exactly where it is that I am going online, beforehand, to make it quick and easy.
Lucky for me (I guess) there is no place out there, online or otherwise, that appears to be shooting out any significant deals on Wii systems, so, it doesn't appear to matter where it comes from....it's $199.  Period.  I think I like that. Not that I would get up early if someone was selling them for 20 bucks somewhere--I would not.  Besides...I'm going to be miles away from retail this Friday.  I noticed a short window of time this week in which I can drive out to see the family, so, I'm gonna jump at it, and head West.
Here is what going to my parents home means...and, for those of you familiar with the high plains of Western North Dakota, please feel free to skip this part.
If you look at my cell phone coverage map, and find my hometown, you will note that there is only roaming coverage for a couple of hundred miles in all directions, and in the very center of the "Could Be VERY Sketchy" coverage part...is my hometown.
Uh-huh.  Phone-addicted me, in forced recovery.  For the record, I would likely be roundly chastised by parent and sibling alike if they saw how much usage that bad boy gets in a day--Internet, email, text, Twitter, FB.  I mean, my father once made a comment about my using a freaking HAIR DRYER, OK?  And if he thinks THAT was techno-addicted scary, well...need I say more?
I'm going to be a bit twitchy.  Roaming doesn't scare me, but, the possibility of ZIP coverage is cause for concern.  I've already warned the children.  They are steeling themselves as we speak.  These are little people who have scarcely known life without texting...I'm just sayin'.
The second item of concern, which I was very used to when living out there, but totally NOT used to anymore, is the part how you MUST plan ahead any purchases you need to make, because the corner store?  It's not there.  And if it is there, it is very unlikely to be open on Thursday.  When you "do" a trip across the state of North Dakota, especially on a holiday, you plan accordingly, thank your lucky stars for Pay At The Pump Gas (which can STILL be as far as 50 miles apart), and you pack a cooler.  Towns big enough for fast food (or any) restaurants are fairly widely spread apart.  If you happen to break down anywhere, well, you're alone, at least for a while.
Those are the cons.  The pro's?  It's beautiful.  You can see the sky for miles and miles.  And it's dead-silent.  You've likely never heard this kind of quiet before, which is probably one of the reasons why extraneous noise is so annoying to me now, all these years later.  And if you do happen to break down anywhere, it doesn't matter who finds you first, you're in good hands. (Ahem...Qualifier:  I'M in good hands because I'm a girl and can feign helplessness, which has a much more receptive audience in the middle of nowhere than it does in a city.)
Yes, there are more people living on my city block than live within a 40 mile radius of where I grew up.  There are more people in the city where I live than there are in the entire state where I grew up.  Hell, there are more CARS in Minneapolis than there are people in North Dakota.
Different world.  Really different.  It's not something I am very good at explaining.  On the one hand, everybody is super-nice, and at the same time, they're all pretty happy that the desolation keeps the "riff-raff" out.  Life there means commitment--keeping a tiny town, or a farm, or anything like that, alive means all hands on deck.  You do because you must.  Everybody does.  And in a major population center like Minneapolis, you're not personally called upon so very often.  Not that we're all "riff-raff"...just that in a time of need, opting out is more of an option here, and you feel like less of a jerk if you do.
I often say that, in the future crazy days, when tsunami's wipe out large chunks of both coasts and all level of insanity hits the major population centers, that the survivors will all find their way to the Dakotas.  The land that was so unlivable will suddenly seem pretty attractive.  Just remember...everyone in both states owns a gun, so, be nice.
We'll be heading that way on Wednesday night, and, this trip really wasn't planned--just popped into my head on Friday morning.  I must say, I really didn't think I needed it until somebody brought it up.  But I do.  And unlike the stationary band saw, I'll take it.


  1. Sounds like you and I will be having a very similar Thanksgiving experience. HBB and I will have no phone/texting capabilities because there is only one tower service in the town we are going. The guy who OWNS that wireless company happens to have a lake home up there. So he has the corner on the wireless service.

    And we won't have internet unless we head to the local library or coffee shop. So we may bring along the computers and have them in the car for Just In Case... I might be a little twitchy myself.

    Hope you have a great weekend and a very Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy your girls and your family and friends back home.

  2. Defintely taking the laptop, not that there is a shot in hell of any coffee shop wireless anywhere, but more so kids will have something to do in the car...I believe that there are English Papers to be written, and such. Internet is just a distraction for writing, isn't it, Ieri??? :-)

    Hopefully, they can stand the lack of connectivity, and I'm sure they'll be bored out of their minds, but it's just a day or two. Anyone can survive a day or two...

  3. Nintendo DS or similar gaming applications always solves the internet connectivity withdrawl symptoms at my house!
    Have a good trip & a wonderful holiday.

  4. DS, Check! Laptop, Check! Teen vampire novel, Check! Stacks of homework, Check!

    (The extra good news is that the teen is going to be doing a lot of driving, so, I won't be hearing the "I'm bored" from her, very much at all.)


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