Connection in the Tunnel

A large tube underneath the English Channel either means you’re in the submariners club, or in less time than it takes to watch an episode of Better Call Saul you’ll be emerging into the French countryside.

We were fortunate enough to whizz through the Channel Tunnel this year, and having our 9 month old son with us made it all the more fun.

There’s no hiding that technology is very present in our lives, minute by minute. How evident that is as I type on my phone. With a little one around the usage pattern of apps has shifted. The Converter: When presented with his new weight I still don’t get Kilos. Pounds and ounces all the way.  A WIFI powered baby monitor, great for life on the move. But most of all it is the camera app. Picture after picture. Portrait, landscape and square. A video of that special moment. A slo-mo of the first ‘this or that’.

Our short escape through the tunnel was no different. Memories captured and catalogued. The calls of “Cheese“, teeth on display and the LED flash signalling a successful record of the moment. Naturally, I opened Instagram to share the scene, but paused before uploading photo. I’m under the English Channel, how could I possibly share this photo now?!? Wrong. “Ah, of course” you say, “the clever folks at Eurotunnel provide WIFI”. Sorry, wrong again.

My phone had superfast 4G signal. I couldn’t believe it. We were half way to France, under the sea, encased in concrete, steel and whatever else protected us from 29,000 sq miles of water, but I could still tweet. Interested in how this 4G signal could reach us, I opened Google Maps. To my surprise we hadn’t left the terminal. Or so Google Maps thought. In fact, the signal that we connected to originated from dry land in Folkstone, but then masked our real location.

We were connected. We were reachable by the outside world. Our position, our beacon was visible and broadcasting as if we were in one place. But whilst being on the move and under gigantic volume and pressure. We had seemingly tricked the world into thinking that we were in one place, when actually we were deep under water, between locations with our trust firmly placed in the path ahead of us.

Our broadcast lives can tell such a story, yet the reality can be very different. Practise makes perfect and we are well practised at fooling those around us regarding our state. Our location. The pressure we feel and the depths that seem to swallow us. Whilst masking our true state can bring light and momentary freedom, the long tunnel can’t end quick enough.

Community, friendship, conversation then, are the morals. The story, our lives. You & I, the author.

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