Monday, June 22, 2009

Communications - Take II

In an older post, I discussed how different new communication means affect our relationships. This week's events got me think about how they affect our lives.

First, we had to change our Internet infrastructure provider from ADSL-based to cable-based. Why? He (it) who has the money (my husband's employer) has the say.

Cable technician Dima came early Friday morning and announced me that if he can't pull in the cable, we might need to change our TV provider from sattelite to cable. Then he managed to trench the cable. He just asked me to call my ISP and notify them about the infrastructure change, so they can set their systems accordingly. 3784 calls later I realized that the ISP I called was no longer my ISP for 2 years and managed to find the number of my current ISP and the access data. Another 62 calls later between Dima, his back office and the ISP tech support, and after he replaced the modem and cable (twice), bingo! The Internet connection was back. What a relief, I couldn't bare the thought of not being connected for the weekend. Since when did it become so essential? Since it is commoditized and I can't even remember who provides what service and how do I connect to it (it's automatic!). I just expect it to work transparently.

The riots in Iran prove that even despotic regimes understand the importance of Internet or phone communications . That's why they cut them off. Protesters can better organize themselves and share news with the world using modern communication means. Of course, they can succeed also without (after all French revolutionaries didn't have Twitter or cell phones), but presumably at a higher price.

The ability to communicate [enhanced by modern means] should be considered a basic human freedom. Any readers from the UN?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Same Difference

Parents often think of their children as their extension, but youngsters need to define themselves as separate (different) entities. We want to do things our own [better] way. After years, when we are sure we succeeded (perhaps with some question marks along the way), we find ourselves smiling as our parents, repeating their gestures, line of thought, food preferences, attitudes or other similarities. By this time, we acknowledge the similarities with understanding and even love. It reminds us of our beloved parents and we feel these resemblences bond us together (in the chain of life, if in a philosophical mood). We are different, but in some aspects, the same.

Statistically, battered children have a higher chance of becoming beating parents, children of self-employed/entrepreneurs have a higher chance of becoming freelancers and children of divorced parents have a higher chance of divorcing. According to popular psychology, we choose our spouses according to the model of our parents. Something deep inside us recognizes an imperceptible resemblance of the potential spouse to something familiar from home and that subconsciously affects our decision to marry them. A friend told me about a young fellow whose mother suffered from severe depression. He married a nice young [healthy] women, who one day felt she couldn't get out of bed. She was different than the mother, but in some aspects the same.

Another friend told me about an unhappily married collegue of him who was having an affair with another women because of the problems in his marriage. At some point he divorced and married the other woman. Years later he confessed to my friend: "did I know there is so little difference between the two, I wouldn't have bothered to make the change." Different woman, same problems.
We have to acknowledge that our decisions are not as independent as we'd like to believe. Yes, they are completely ours, but in a context. And this is not negative, but human.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Domino Effect

Greedy bankers in one corner of the world mess around with subprime mortgages and next thing you know your shares go down and your employer (in a different corner of the world) is firing. Welcome to globalization 101.

After two nerve wrecking weeks, my employer fired 10% of its workforce and stripped the 'lucky' rest of 20-25% of their income. I won't be working every other Sunday. Yes, I have plans: from firing the cleaning lady and cleaning my place, through lunching with friends, making hairdresser appointments, touring around to volunteering. Some friends suggested learning French, some think I should find another income creating activity. Decisions, decisions.

Have advice? Comment on this post.