Walking ~ Days 136-149 Walks Unaccounted For

As you may know, I have had some problems with the internet. Yesterday I received an email notifying me that my AT&T internet box is on it’s way via UPS. It should be here tomorrow. I opted for the DIY installation package to save $99. I hope this doesn’t turn out to be another bad decision. In the meantime, our Direct TV dish arrived yesterday and we are up and running. My husband is beside himself with all the choices and the superior picture quality. Last night we watched an Ed Burns movie, She’s The One. We love Ed Burns, his quirky sense of humor and his slice of life stories. The Brothers McMullen is an all time favorite, we’ve seen it at least a dozen times.

I haven’t blogged about walking in two weeks. That doesn’t mean I haven’t been walking. I have actually been taking some great walks. The beach is a little over a half mile from my new apartment. I have done this walk numerous times now, crossing over the intracoastal bridge where the bridge tender, as he is called, sits in his little house watching boxing matches and waits for large yachts and sailboats to pass by. His job is to raise the drawbridge every half hour, not a bad job in my opinion. Forget boxing, imagine all the writing I could get done.

I always have the beach pretty much to myself, there’s never been more than three or four people there. The mansions and condominiums are boarded up for now, but I imagine that will soon change. The drawbridge will be going up a lot more often, too. We can hear the horn from our apartment. I like the sound, it reminds me I live near the water now. My husband and I walked the beach together on Sunday night.

I have also walked the side streets along the Intracoastal and I found a new coffee shop, Maui Wowie, where I bought a large coffee cup entitling me to half price drinks in the future. I sit at the sidewalk cafe several times a week, catching up on email and tweets and Facebook. Another glitch we have run into, my IPhone is not connecting to the internet when I’m in the apartment. I can text and make phone calls, but no surfing the web. Hopefully this will change when I get internet service.

The past two weeks have been interesting without the internet. In some ways  it’s been a pleasant hiatus. With a smart phone always by your side, it’s so easy to be plugged in all the time. Your phone beeps, you feel compelled to check it. You see something interesting, you snap a photo, then tweet it or share it with your Facebook friends. I remember a time when I could go days without communicating. In college, we had a pay phone on our hall. If you passed by and it rang, you answered it and then went looking for whoever was receiving the call. If you didn’t find them, you rarely went back to the phone, leaving it hanging it there, assuming someone’s mom or dad would eventually give up and try again later.

When I backpacked through Europe, we never called anyone, until one day in Athens, five weeks into the trip. Some other Americans told us there was a place in the Plaka where you could make a three minute international phone call. I don’t remember how many drachmas it cost, but it was reasonable enough that we decided to do it. My cousin Kathy and I both tried to call our parents, but no one was home. This was so long ago, it was even before answering machines. We never did get to say hi from Athens.

Another bonus of not having the internet is, my second novel is almost finished. I am on the final chapters. I hope to have it out by November. This brings me to the downside of not having the internet. I am a one woman show. I do not have a publisher or a literary agent. I do all the marketing. Social media is a handy, powerful tool. I have built quite a little following of readers but it is like a garden, it needs to be watered frequently. In this high speed internet age of constant communication and ever changing trends, it isn’t a good thing to go dormant for too long. I mean, it’s one thing if you’re Stephen King or Lee Childs but if you’re Sheila Blanchette, the author of The Reverse Commute, you really want to be out there a month or two before your potential publication date.

So here I am at the library once again. It’s very crowded today, almost all of the computers are occupied. At the moment it is 1:30 in the afternoon, so it’s mostly adults. The schoolkids haven’t arrived yet.

Before Direct TV arrived on Monday, my husband rigged up his Radio Shack antenna. On Sunday we watched Meet the Press and learned that 8.6 million people visited www.healthcare.gov, looking for information on health insurance. Yes, there have been glitches in the system and this is unfortunate. But I am sure they will be worked out, just as I am sure one day soon I will get back on the internet at my home. But, 8.6 million people! In just the first week. That’s what the media should be focusing on. That’s an awful lot of people looking for health insurance.

When I lived in my apartment west of here, I never walked the streets of my neighborhood. I stayed within the confines of my gated community when I didn’t have time to get to the beach or some other scenic locale. The first night I lived there, I took a walk out on Gateway Boulevard. Six lanes of traffic passed by, going east and west. I could feel the breeze as the cars sped by. It was a little intimidating and not that enjoyable. Two nights later, I woke to the sound of squealing brakes and a loud crash, followed by the sound of shattering glass. Sirens and flashing red lights followed soon after. One of the cars involved in the accident was up on the sidewalk. I never walked Gateway Boulevard again.

Last week one of the guys who works with my husband was riding his new bike on the sidewalk. He got hit by a car. All he remembers is a man shaking his shoulder, asking him if he was all right. His bike was smashed, his leg and hip sore, but he got up and walked home. A week later he is still limping, but he hasn’t been to the doctor. He has no health insurance.

Today, a friend of mine told me her back hurts and the pain is running down her leg. I told her it might be siatica, she needs to call her doctor. She replied, “I have no health insurance.” Again, I go about about my day and hear more stories.

8.6 million people in the first week alone. Politics have real life consequences, and sometimes those consequences are good.

Now that I have TV again, I have more news. On Morning Joe today, they showed a clip of Eric Cantor from a few weeks ago, stating that the budget they are not approving is a Republican budget, many of the cuts they’ve wanted to make are in this budget. Then they tried to tie in defunding Obamacare with passing the budget. They accuse the president and the Democrats of not compromising. On a Republican budget! Stephen Colbert had a great response to that one.

8.6 million people and counting. Time to take a walk. It’s the only thing that keeps me sane. If I run into anyone without healthcare, trust me, you’ll be the first to hear about it. In the meantime, feel free to share your stories here.

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