Surprisingly Good 4G

My first picture is where I live now, which is just where I’d happened to be when it happened. Well, strictly speaking I was a few day’s walk from here but this is where I’ve been since then, as it seemed wisest to head away from it, and it has surprisingly good phone signal here.

Since then, I’ve mostly grown used to the peculiar things which are unchanged and those that aren’t. For example, I haven’t found a rock yet that will do much more than sharpen the edge on my favourite knife just enough to be frustrating, but I can still watch cat videos on my mobile.

I had the portable solar panel in my pack which is enough to give me juice for the phone, but I had no spare flint for my cigarette lighter, so since that ran out I’ve been lighting fires by rubbing sticks together, even though it still has gas. Some parts of our infrastructure seem to be self-sustaining – more through luck than design I suspect – in a way I’d never really thought of. My assumption is that some of those big datacentres and server farms must be running off solar energy, but if any part of the chain relies on people to bring in coal or oil or gas, or relies on people to pay their supplier bills, then they went offline pretty quickly. All the Google services went down after the 1st of the following month for example; no search or email or YouTube, although their adservers must be someplace else as I still see their ads running on third party sites. Presumably there was someone in that chain waiting for payment. The Android app store still seems to work. Around 3/4 of my Facebook friends accounts have gone, even though I can get to our direct messages, and most of the Pages are still there, though with no new content. Twitter has been showing their Fail Whale “Something is technically wrong” image since Day 1. I guess the mobile and GPS satellites are solar-powered too or this message wouldn’t have anything to bounce off. I don’t know what happens when they eventually fall out of orbit (how long does that take to happen?)

My bank’s website is still live, so my direct debits are still being paid, most importantly to pay monthly for this phone, and I started using an old FreeServe email account I’d all but forgotten about because Gmail is down, and the “reset your password” button is broken on Yahoo. My phone still nags me to install the newest upgrades, and though I’m curious as to what the hell those might be after all this time, I don’t want to risk changing something. I’ve been liking around 500 Facebook pages and subscribing to about the same number of blogs each day. Unlike the old days, I’ve turned on email and text notification for everything I find and check my email account each night before I sleep for any activity. I post 3 photos each day to Instagram. (@shrugbug7 if the app doesn’t work for you, try going via browser).

This was undoubtedly not what the designers had in mind for this kind of app originally, but there is a definite irony about my installing it and setting up this account and what I hope to achieve. I didn’t give them much thought when people started using them; I was pretty dismissive of them if I’m honest. I guess a person’s attitudes change when they realise they’re pregnant. Or that they might be the last human being alive.

So anyway, here I am! I’ve set my Discovery Preferences to “200 miles” and set Ages as “18-56+”. I’m a legal secretary, into foraging for food and home-building, looking forward to meeting my Someone Out There and hoping all the good ones aren’t gone. I’m 5’5. Ex-smoker. All my photos are recent.




This piece inspired by an Elephant Words image originally posted at

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Often musician, sometime projectbloke, occasional table, sporadic writer, serial traveler, irregular designer, internet addict with OCLD.

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