Sunday July 30th, 2017

The exercise:

Write about: a break from technology.

Camping was generally good. Did a beautiful hike to a waterfall, swam in the lake, ate good food, and... had a horrible night's sleep.

So, you know, camping.



After dinner last night Papa took Max and Natalie (who ended up staying the night, sharing a tent with Max and Papa) down to the lake to do some fishing. He said they'd go for about 45 minutes (which I knew wasn't going to be accurate with those two).

When it started getting dark I took out my phone to check the time and... hmm. Blank grey and black screen. Couldn't get past it. Couldn't turn it off. Ended up setting it aside overnight and by the time I got up this morning the battery was dead.

Great. It's been showing signs that it's nearing the end of its life but this was definitely the most dramatic yet.

This morning Max and Natalie were riding their bikes around the road that goes through the campsites and Miles was chasing after them. I thought I'd get a couple pictures with my camera. Took one. Took another. Wanted to have a look at the second, so I hit the display button and... nothing. Well, not nothing. It said busy. For a very long time.

So I shut it off. Tried turning it back on again. Couldn't view the picture, couldn't take any more pictures.


The good news is that after we got home I got both of them working again. Charged my phone and got it mostly working (had to power it off and then on again in order to get the timer/alarm/ringer sounds to work again... which is not at all worrying for tomorrow morning). I don't trust it anymore though so I'll be going to purchase a new phone on my next day off.

I also charged the battery on my camera (which wasn't dead but I didn't know what else to do). When I put it back in the photo I was trying to look at this morning showed up as a corrupted file. Deleted it and everything seems to be fine now. Kinda forced to trust it as I'm not going to be buying another camera again anytime soon.

Anyway. If someone had asked me if I was looking forward to taking a break from technology this weekend I would have said yes.

... and this would not have been what I meant at all.


Greg said...

The trip sounds like fun, though the technology woes are obviously less fun. Can you not remove the battery from your phone then? That would have shut it down and probably allowed you to get it working again that evening. The camera sounds less worrying, more like the file got corrupted and the OS didn't know how to recover from it. Hopefully it won't happen again :)
How long did the fishing take in the end then (though I appreciate you're probably guessing)? And did they catch anything?

A break from technology
Pablo shook his head. The rucksack was definitely Joaquin's but why was it in half-buried in a snow-drift outside a cave? Joaquin would surely have gone inside for shelter unless there was an animal in there, and even then he wouldn't have left the rucksack with the food and tent in behind him. The rucksack was still closed and packed the way Joaquin packed things: methodical, organised, by-the-book. No claw marks or tooth marks to show that anything else had even found it.
He picked it up, noting that it was heavy but well-balanced, and walked into the cave. He set it by the entrance and turned on his head-torch -- a neat blue elasticated fabric band with three bright LEDs mounted at the front and a battery life of over 20 hours. The cave illuminated immediately and he caught his breath.
There was a flight of stairs at the end of the short cave that led down to an underground town. There were oddly-shaped buildings, flickers of a yellowish light in windows and plazas, and a black river that roiled its way on a snake-like course between buildings and roads. It stretched out further than he could see until the roof of the cave dipped down and obscured it. Abandoning the rucksack still made no sense, but Joaquin would have wanted to explore this. Hell, Pablo wanted to explore this!
He started on the steps, taking care as his own rucksack was not as well-balanced as Joaquin's and the steps were clearly chipped into the bare rock. They were irregular and slightly icy underfoot.

Greg said...

At the foot of the stairs was a small circular area with a clear path and large patches of a greyish moss that might have been someone's idea of a garden. There was a faint tracery of frost on the walls around him, and he was slightly surprised that the cold weather outside was still so evident inside, but, he reasoned, perhaps the moisture from the river helped bring the temperature down. There was only one way out, along a narrow path with walls at waist height and he noticed as he walked that his breath condensed whitely in front of him. At the end of the path the cave opened out fully and the town spread out ahead of him.
As he stared at it, wondering that this could have been built without anyone knowing about it, not appearing in any history book or geographic atlas, he noticed that some of the yellowish lights seemed to be moving. He looked over at them, and nearly screamed when something grabbed his ankle.
His heartbeat shot up, racing in his chest and his skin felt instantly cold and clammy. He looked down, unable to breathe, and there was a hand closed around his ankle. He shook his foot violently, desperate to be free, and the hand opened and let him loose.
Now free he stepped back, out of reach, and crouched down. The hand was attached to an arm that led back into an opening in the rock, not big enough for a man to fit through, but perhaps a monkey might. As he angled the light from his headband towards it the hand moved to shield the eyes of the person inside.
"Who are you?" asked Pablo, wondering if they even spoke English. In response the hand lowered and the head moved closer to the opening. "Joaquin?"
It looked like Joaquin except that one eye was gone, the socket closed over with puckered pale flesh like scar tissue, and his mouth was also gone, clean skin in its place as though it had never been there. Pablo shivered, his skin clammy and cold again.
"Joaquin, what happened to you? You said you wanted some time away, a break from technology, but... but..."
Joaquin shrugged, and then his eye widened. Pablo started to turn but something landed on his back, forcing him to the ground, his nose pressing painfully against cold rock. Somewhere nearby something skittered. Cold hands reached for his ears, pressing insistently against them and making it hard to hear the screaming that had started up. Then he was forcibly turned over and he realised that he was doing the screaming. In front of him was a woman-shaped creature with spindly arms and legs that were too long, like a daddy-long legs, and an oval head. It was almost egg-like in smoothness, except that it had a single eye and a mouth, both of which he recognised as belonging to Joaquin.

Marc said...

Greg - if the battery is removable I certainly don't know how to do it. They were probably gone for an hour and a half. And no, no bites. Probably for the best.

God, as soon as I saw 'slightly icy underfoot' I knew where this was going. And I kept reading. Damn you. :P