MURPHY'S LAW Conveniences of life are taken for granted

By Patrick Murphy

Five days with barely any Internet, now I know how the pioneers lived.

We spent part of last week on a family vacation at Custer State Park in South Dakota, sharing a cabin with about 14 family members, and extremely limited access to the outside world.

It was like traveling back in time. Without Internet there was no checking sports scores, no Facebook, no Twitter, no Instagram and no Snapchat. How did people live back in the olden days?

How was I supposed to roll my eyes at the junk people share on Facebook or see pictures of their dogs?

How was I supposed to keep track of who’s insulting whom on Twitter?

How was I supposed to keep track of work e-mails?

My daughter-in-law Anna made fun of me because I kept trying to connect to the Internet, and there was no Internet to connect to.

I even took my laptop in the car with me when we went sight-seeing, and kept trying to connect as we wound our way through the hills, hoping to catch a brief signal.

I had to take my laptop and walk down the road from our cabin to get a signal. There I stood on the road responding to customer’s e-mails.

It almost became comical — to Anna — as I checked my phone over and over again and walked around with my laptop.

Yes, I’m one of those people who always has his phone with him, even though I am old enough to remember when having two phones in your house was a big deal, and no one cared if they missed a phone call when they weren’t home.

It reminded me it’s impossible to visit a state park like Custer and the surrounding areas and not be struck by the history, and the pioneers who came before us.

I joke about the lack of Internet service, but it is hard to fathom the lives so many led to build this country.

We complain about the cold as we go from our heated homes to heated cars to heated buildings.

Then we complain about the heat as we go from our air conditioned homes to our conditioned cars to air conditioned buildings.

Food is readily available at grocery stores and restaurants, and we don’t even have to leave our homes to get it. Most people hunt and fish for sport, not because their lives depend on it.

Transportation is easily available, from our own vehicles to mass transportation or flying.

It does not take us days to travel in covered wagon or by horse back. We don’t have to worry about crossing rivers and lakes, enduring heat and snowstorms, we just hop in our vehicles, get on a bus, rail or fly, and in no time we are where we want to be.

Life has become so simple and convenient that we take it for granted, and become upset at the slightest inconvenience.

So here I am sitting in this beautiful, air conditioned cabin, surrounded by family gathered in this historic part of the country trying to get baseball scores and news from the outside world.

Soon enough I will be back on the highway that will lead me back home, back to work and back to all the conveniences that are part of my every day life, including the Internet.

Patrick Murphy, editor-publisher of the Humphrey Democrat and Newman Grove Reporter in Nebraska, is a former assistant managing editor at The Telegram.