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Black hole

Marissa Frobes | Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I am thoroughly convinced that I live in a black hole. Notre Dame’s bubble is successfully disconnecting me from the world one “Message Send Failure” at a time.

However pathetic, I am becoming more and more frustrated each day with my inability to transcend two bars on my iPhone almost anywhere on campus. I know I am not alone in this struggle; students using AT&T or Verizon as their provider are most likely grappling with service issues, too.

According to a news article in The Observer a few weeks ago, the problem is a consequence of “increased capacity” on campus, and both providers are working toward improving reception at Notre Dame. But I need to see some tangible results ASAP — I need to see bars, because my family life, social life and mental stability are all at a tipping point.

Three weeks ago, I celebrated my 20th birthday. I received random text messages throughout the day, and reveled in the awkward “Happy Birthday, miss you!”s I got from near strangers on Facebook, but midnight was imminent and I had yet to hear from either of my parents or my older sister.

Around 10 a.m. the following day, I walked out of my dorm to head to class and received several voicemails in a row, all stemming from random points the previous evening. The first few were customary — my parents harmonizing to sing “Happy Birthday” and my sister wishing me a great day — but the rest expressed worry and annoyance thanks to AT&T. “Where are you? You can’t just ignore us because it’s your birthday!”

My family was just as peeved at my lack of response as I was disheartened by them apparently forgetting my birthday. We are currently still working through this miscommunication.

A similar situation happened with a friend on campus. We had planned to meet at main circle some time between 9:45 and 10 p.m. to catch a movie. I texted her around 9:30 to verify plans, and according to my phone, it sent. Ten after ten and I thought I was stood up when I hear a pounding on my door — she ran from main circle to Walsh to grab me because she had been calling incessantly for twenty minutes.

This has happened to me innumerable times this year, and it is making me insane. Where do I go from here? Here are my options: learn to live without cellular service (no way), install “femto cells” in my dorm room as recommended by the aforementioned Observer article (what’s a femto?) or hope and pray that AT&T will get it together and bring me back in touch with my social network (impatiently waiting.)

In the meantime, you can probably find me leaning outside of my first floor window of Walsh, hand waving psychotically, trying to force text messages to escape the black hole of reception on Notre Dame’s campus.

The views expressed in the Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

Contact Marissa Frobes at mfrobes@nd.edu