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  • MelindaLong

First World Problems


A good friend of mine introduced the expression to me years ago. When I complained that the copier at my school was jamming or the car a/c was messed up, she'd say, "Sound's like a first world problem, Melinda."


She was so right. See, I was listening, Jennifer. When technology or other niceties that we take for granted, fail us, then it's a first world problem.


After all, I got up yesterday and had my coffee and a warm shower. I also enjoyed a nice breakfast of oatmeal and fruit that took only a few minutes to prep. (I didn't have to build a campfire or go pick the fruit. Everything was right there in the kitchen.) I even took a few minutes to do yoga and catch up on email and Facebook on my cell phone.


No problem, right?


Well, there was a bit of a problem.


When I woke up that morning, tropical storm, Zeta was raging overhead and the dogs were barking like lunatics because the storm door closer had broken off in the wind. The door was crashing back and forth. That didn't even register as a first world problem. Easy fix. My husband and I made note to buy a new closer and fix the door. Then we got started on breakfast.


Next came time to do a little writing and prepare for the virtual visits I'd planned for today with Kent Elementary in Carrollton, Texas. This wouldn't have been possible twenty years ago, but with our current situation, tools like Zoom and Google Meet are common place. They help me to do my job remotely. They've kept our society moving during this pandemic.


Unless the internet goes out...which it did. No problem. A quick call to Spectrum told me it would be fixed within the hour, so I dropped an email to my contact in Texas to let her know there was a problem, but it would be fixed soon.


Yeah, except it wasn't. This storm took out electricity to 72,000 in my county alone. As of this blog, 25,000 still have no power. I've been in that boat and it stinks.


We were lucky enough not to have to deal with that problem. Still, when there are power lines and trees down everywhere, the folks that fix the internet connections can't get to where they need to be. Not their fault. It was going to take a lot more time than they first thought.


What to do? Ask the school to reschedule? Pray for the quick return of internet? Wait! Maybe I could use the hot spot on my phone (my son's idea.) I did a quick technology check with my ever patient husband and daughter. My daughter was standing in line to vote and I was able to Google Meet with her while she was in line. How easy was that? The connection worked okay, but it wasn't great. I wanted great. After all, these school visits are a favorite part of being a children's author. I didn't want just okay.


My professional and understanding contact at Kent, agreed to do a test run of the hot spot connection this morning, and I went to bed wondering if I was going to be glitching out with my virtual visits today.


Sometime in the middle of the night, the internet came back. Thanks to the hard working folks that know how important it is to so many people.


Thanks Spectrum, for making it work.

Thanks to my Texas contact, for being patient with me.

Thanks to Thom, Bryan and Cathy for letting me brainstorm a backup plan.

Thanks to all the great faculty, staff, and kids at Kent who made my day fantastic.

And thanks to my friend, Jennifer, for reminding me so often in the past that it's only a first world problem. As far as I know nobody was hurt trying to solve my minor problem and I still had a great day.


Finally, praying for all those in this state and elsewhere who are having real problems. The first world problems are a whole lot easier to fix.


***If you're interested in bringing Melinda (virtually) to your school, click here.