Last week, we tried to enter the twenty-first century. We hadn't wanted to rush into it, but it does look like it might take off. Because I'm teaching college courses in Beckley one day a week and driving home late at night on deserted roads, we decided to get a cell phone for emergencies. There's no cell service here on Droop, but people in Marlinton seem to use them, and every single shopper in the Lewisburg Wal-mart is talking to some ethereal presence, rather than watching where she's pushing that cart. Surely a prepaid cell phone (like the ones the hitmen are always using on the TV police dramas) would be a good idea.
We bought the recommended model in Marlinton, and brought it home, only to discover it had no battery. So we went back to the store and exchanged it. The second phone charged successfully, but it failed half-way through activation. We drove all over Marlinton, the south side of Droop Mountain, and all the way to Frankford, where we got a strong signal, but the phone still wouldn't activate. The nice young tech support man (in the Philippines, I think) was very apologetic, but unable to help. I'll be taking the phone back on Friday.
Today, I ordered the The ARRL Ham Radio License Manual, which, I am assured, is All you need to become an Amateur Radio Operator. Our neighbors are long-time ham radio operators, and keep one in their car for emergencies. The AARL (American Radio Relay League) was founded in 1914. Clearly, we are plunging headfirst into a new century. We're just a little confused about which one.