Perhaps the most insidious thing 45 has been doing is undermining expertise. If you’re like me you’ll be subject to that sudden, clenching fear that we live in a house of cards. Everything is built on an extremely tenuous situation and we don’t understand the basis on which it’s built. (That’s one reason I take such an interest in geology.) So this morning I climbed out of bed around 3:30 a.m., my usual time. There was no internet. This has happened before, and I know enough to turn off power to the router and reboot. This I did several times before finally calling RCN. I pictured a tech sitting in a lonely basement at the wee hours, perhaps glad for a service call. He was very nice. Still, after having me do the basic checks again, he said he’d have to send a technician. They, lazily, don’t start work until 8 a.m.
Now here’s where the expertise comes in. Most of us use the internet pretty constantly. We don’t know how it works, and when it’s broken we can’t fix it. I can’t even figure out what some of these devices are. In all likelihood the technician (my shining prince or princess) will not understand the underlying coding that makes the devices work. They’ll be able (I hope, and if you’re reading this my hope is not misplaced) to figure out what’s wrong with the hardware. I suspect even they, however, wouldn’t be able to lay the cable to my house, or repair it, if it were damaged. We all rely on others farther down the line to know how to do their jobs. Experts. House of cards. With a president claiming experts to be obsolete, I wonder how even the mighty could tweet without an internet connection.
All of this makes me feel quite vulnerable. I work from home and I need a solid, reliable, steady internet connection. The day we moved in, literally, two techs came. It was a Sunday morning. One of them fell asleep in the office chair while the younger one, who spoke no English, did all the work. Every time I use the internet, I feel like I’m trying to add a new story to this house of cards. I don’t know what to do if it goes wrong. Since phone (and television, at least theoretically) is bundled in this, I can’t even call. Well, I couldn’t if I didn’t have a cell phone. My life is tied up with tech, and I can’t fix it if it’s broken. I made it through a master’s degree without using a computer. My frame of reference is ancient. If a bird tweets and there’s no signal, does it make a sound? Then, without explanation, the connection was reborn, just before 7 a.m. Who says there’s no such thing as resurrection?