Joanne Palmer: Insanity never came my way |

Joanne Palmer: Insanity never came my way

Joanne Palmer

In 1989, Joanne Palmer left a publishing career in Manhattan and has missed her paycheck ever since. She is a mom, weekly columnist for the Steamboat Pilot & Today, and the owner of a property management company, The House Nanny. Her new book "Life in the 'Boat: How I fell on Warren Miller's skis, cheated on my hairdresser and fought off the Fat Fairy" is now available in local bookstores and online at or

Albert Einstein once said, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result."

Despite the fact I know this to be true, it did not stop me from repeatedly trying to connect to the Internet and make a phone call during the Verizon Wireless service outage on Halloween.

"Maybe if I reboot my computer 200 times, the Internet will come back on."

"Maybe if I pull the battery from my phone 10 times, it will stop reading, 'Searching for service.'"


None of that worked. I began to wonder if the same raccoon that caused a Yampa Valley Electric Association power outage a couple of years ago had moved on to fiber optic cables. Or if someone had too much witch's brew and zapped some great big server housed somewhere.

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Wait, maybe the NFL is behind this. Without phones and computers, more people will have to watch Monday Night Football.

Eventually, I gave up rebooting and battery pulling, turned the split pea soup I was making down to a simmer, packed up my laptop and phone and headed to the nearest coffee house to log in.

I don't need the Internet to write my column. All I need is to open a new Microsoft Word document. But it's a widely known fact that all writers are terrible procrastinators who must read any and all snippets of information before typing the first sentence.

It's extremely important to scan the Yahoo! headlines in case something of merit should happen. That's what I did, and here's what I discovered: Kim Kardashian filed for divorce after 72 days of marriage.

If I hadn't been in a public place, I would have given a war whoop of laughter. I reached for my cellphone to call my girlfriend (we had a bet about the duration of the Kardashian/Humphries marriage), and then I remembered, "Oops, no phone."

No problem, I'll send her an email.

Oops, no email either.

Can't text her.

Hmm, I wonder if she could decipher a smoke signal?

Probably not, and it wasn't that important anyway. Not important at all. Truly, it's trivial. Everyone knew the marriage never would last. Still, it would be fun to cackle about it. Nope, still no service.

By the time I got home, the broth in my soup had evaporated, and a congealed green mess was adhered to the bottom of the pan like Gorilla Glue.

"Great," I fumed.

It was a good excuse to order a pizza. I reached for my phone. Oops! No service. Well, a frontierwoman wouldn't let some burned soup thwart her dinner plans. I scooped out what wasn't stuck to the bottom of the pan and started over.

I decided to walk the dog, assuring myself that by the time I returned home, Verizon Wireless service would be restored. It was weird to leave the house without my "in-case-of-emergency" phone. I have to confess to feeling strangely liberated. For 45 minutes, I was going to be truly and completely out of reach.

My peaceful feeling was disturbed when I returned home to discover a wild-eyed and truly distraught teenager.

"This is the worst Halloween ever! I can't find my friends without my phone," he wailed.

"No problem. Let's just sit around the fireplace and tell some ghost stories," I suggested helpfully.

He stormed upstairs to watch TV.

Without our electronics, we all went to bed an hour earlier and awoke to discover technology as we knew it was back.

I had only one voicemail and did not need to read that, according to the tabloids, Kim Kardashian made $18 million from her marriage, or $250,000 per unhappy day.

Maybe insanity is staying plugged in constantly. Different results can be achieved simply by turning off your phone and not booting up your computer.

Try it, and let me know how it goes.

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