No WiFi, No Problem—but Not Really!

Clink. Clink. The alarm on my phone twiddled on my bedside table as I shifted underneath my sheets. Another week, another day of remote school. It was a quiet Wednesday morning, and I closed my eyes in hope of another five minutes of sleep before having to get up. 

Bang! The door to my room flew open as my mom rushed into the door frame. 

“What?” I complained, still groggy from my recent wake-up call. 

“You have to get up. We don’t have any WiFi.” 

Grogginess aside, I sat up with a jolt. Stumbling around my room in the dark, I grabbed the first sweatshirt I could find and practically tripped down the stairs, tearing across the house before finding myself in my dad’s office. “Dad. Dad!” I whispered, as he whipped around with a phone in his hand. I’m trying to get on the phone with Verizon, he mouthed before jittering with our WiFi box once more. I nodded and walked back through the house into the kitchen, where I found my mom pacing with a cup of coffee in her hand. “I’ve just managed to send a few texts. Hopefully one of your aunts or uncles will let you do your classes at their house for the day,” she said. I slid into my chair in the dining room and sighed, running my hands through my hair. My mom’s phone dinged and she walked back into the kitchen. I drummed my fingers on the table and looked at the clock. 

people on zoom call Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

9:10. Two hours until my first class of the day, I thought. I’m no WiFi expert, but it was pretty easy to guess that it would be a tight squeeze to turn this situation around before I had to discuss Shakespeare over Zoom. I stood up slowly, feeling that familiar sense of the unknown that had accompanied the last year. Trying to ignore this feeling, I proceeded to make breakfast. As I twiddled with the toaster, millions of thoughts ran through my head. There hadn’t been a storm the night before. How could we be out of power? Sure, we had hiccups happen every now and then, but something about this felt off. 

10 minutes later, as I spread butter over my bagel, my mom jumped up from her seat at the island. “I got it! Your aunt is on vacation; she said you can do your classes over at her house.” I immediately gobbled down the rest of my breakfast and ran upstairs to get changed. 10 minutes later, I was in the car with my bag packed, ready for a day of school in a different place. To be 100% honest, I was looking forward to getting out of my house for the day. Being in the same space for all of my classes meant that any change of scenery was welcome—although perhaps in a less hectic manner. I looked at my phone. 9:40. OK. Let’s see how this goes. Within five minutes, I had pulled into my aunt’s driveway and headed into the garage to deactivate the alarm. Thank goodness for relatives who live close by! After getting into the house and finding the WiFi router, I headed upstairs and set up my computer at the kitchen island, letting out a sigh of relief. What a morning! 

I opened Google Chrome and prepared to log into my Gmail account to access that morning’s emails, which I had probably missed. Click. Nothing happened. Click Click. Still loading. I let out a groan. “Ok, is it just my computer? Is it just me? What is going on?!” I exclaimed, as my mom came up from the basement. “What’s going on?” She asked, looking at me inquisitively. I held up my computer and turned it towards her. “No WiFi. What is going on?” 

She looked at me again, puzzled. “No. That can’t be true. Try restarting your computer.” And so I did. Sure enough, as the screen lit up one minute later, the same was true: I had no WiFi or internet connection. I let out another groan of frustration and looked at the clock in the top right corner. 9:47. Yikes. My mom disappeared into the next room, trying to get a text out to the rest of our relatives who lived close by to get an understanding of the situation. Meanwhile, I was just as puzzled. What the heck was going on?

Woman with curly hair waving and saying hi to someone through her laptop. Photo by Yan from Pexels

After managing to get a few text messages through, we finally had an understanding of the situation: the entire town was out of WiFi. Well, that is, anyone who had Verizon. Things were not looking good. But, as they say, all good things come in waves. Sure enough, I was back in the car five minutes later, heading to another relative’s house (who, luckily enough, had been vaccinated!). The car ride over felt like a Mario Kart chase. While we were going the speed limit, my heart was racing a million miles an hour. Oddly enough, at one point, my mom looked over at me and asked, “How are you so calm right now?”. Trust me, I wasn’t! Maybe my stress had been masked by my general exhaustion. 

Finally, we pulled into the driveway at my aunt’s house. I scrambled out of the car and sprinted down to her basement, where I logged onto Zoom at exactly 10:10—just in time for the start of my English class, where my professor greeted me with a cheerful “Hey, Libby!”. As I settled into my new (albeit temporary) environment for my day full of classes, I finally felt relieved. 

I’m not sure what the moral of the story is here. Be grateful for WiFi? Family who lives nearby? Either way, my hectic day taught me a lot about going with the flow. Sure, I may have been stressed at times, but hindsight is 2020, right? Looking back now, this story is absolutely hilarious to me. I guess I should have been more prepared for all of the twists and turns that a remote semester can bring!