Maybe we picked the wrong day to quit talking.
Just as we began the eight hour drive from Orlando to Pensacola Beach, Fla. today, a gaggle of relatives descended on grandma’s house and decided they wanted to chat that afternoon.
But wait! We’ve given up the cell phones for the next seven days.
We needed a reliable high-speed Internet signal, and we needed it fast.
Starbucks seemed like a good candidate. Its signal is free and usually reliable, but a visit to the coffee shop also means consuming extreme amounts of caffeine, and for the kids, sweet pastries. Just the thing they need for a long ride in the car.
Candidate number two was Panera. Same problem.
McDonalds? No way.
We were hoping to find a rest area with free Wi-Fi, but no such luck. So we did what we had to: We opened the Skype app on our cell phone and made the call, putting us at the mercy of the generously-spaced cellular towers between Tallahassee and Pensacola.
The call took place in one of the more scarcely populated parts of Florida’s panhandle where a 4G signal is as rare as snow, which made the call challenging from a connectivity standpoint. But after several false starts, the connection held and the kids talked with their grandparents, great-aunts and uncles, and best of all, they got to see them too.
(How are the relatives? They’re fine. They did most of the talking.)
Before we sign off today, let’s address our cellular withdrawals. We haven’t experienced them yet.
As some of our commenters have pointed out, we are technically using a cellular signal for data. That’s correct. We are still on the network for the data, but not for voice calls.
If it were possible to go off the cellular network entirely, then believe me, we’d do it. America’s cellular network is in a class by itself. (That would be the the class of 1999.)
The fact that we’re not really using AT&Ts oh-so-reliable voice network hasn’t really hit us yet. Maybe it will tomorrow, maybe not. We’re staying at the Holiday Inn Resort in Pensacola Beach, where the wireless signal is strong and it hasn’t been necessary to make a phone call yet.
But the work week hasn’t started. Tomorrow will be the real test …