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Where am I? Still in Branson?


When we awake, we have to figure out where we are. This may be easy for you, but it’s not for me, because I am apparently an extreme systemizer and cannot keep from thinking about things in the way I’ll present here.

When I press my internal on button and begin to log my brain onto to the consciousness server, I’ll be on my second cup of coffee before I know my place in the universe. There are many connections to verify, a process that takes a few minutes.

Geography

First, I need to locate myself geographically, based on latitude: 36° 38.5, longitude: -94° 44.6.

Galaxy: Milky Way

Solar system: Sun

Planet: Earth

Hemispheres: Northern and Western

Continent: North America

Physiographic Region: Ozark Highlands

Physiographic sub-region White River Hills

Climate zone: Humid sub-tropical

USDA Plant Hardiness zone: 6b

Watershed: Atlantic Ocean

Sub-watershed Mississippi River

Sub-Sub-watershed White River

Time Zone UTC-6

I should have gone into considerably more detail on geography, especially biomes.

Political

Geography is the best part of the answer to the question of where am I, but I also live in a political world, subject to governmental authorities, which control and tax me; issue currency; provide me with roads, mail service and drinking water; collect and treat my wastewater; and stand ready to extinguish a house fire, educate my kids (I’m not sure that the school system taught my kids where they were at the level of detail that I think is appropriate), and haul me to the jail or hospital when I need to go.

Country: United States of America

US Congressional District:  Seventh

Zip Code 65616-3114

Census Tract: 9801

State: Missouri

State senate district: 29

State representative district: 62

County: Taney

City: Branson, Ward 2

School District Branson R-IV

Ambulance District Taney County Ambulance District

Where am I in the Cyber World?

All of the foregoing is important, but I live and work in a cybernetic world, defined by communication systems. My location from a geographic and political perspective is mostly defined by a fixed point (the latitude and longitude of my property and my person), but location in the cyberworld has to do with membership in domains and connections to fluid networks, some of which change in the course of a day.

Languages: American English. I’m on the border between two dialect groups, Midland and Mountain Southern. In my work, I speak to other lawyers, using that kind of language, as well as people from around the country and people who have come to the Ozarks from other places. I have to pay attention to how we use spoken and written language and non-verbal signals.

Landline telephone: I have a 417 334-XXXX home number, which originated in Branson, Missouri, but it has been ported from the old carrier to a CLEC. I can take the number anywhere.

Cell phone: My Verizon cell phone connects to towers wherever in Verizon’s CDMA system that I go. Because it is a BlackBerry, it also connects to the BlackBerry radio system. In remote areas, I may have Verizon phone service, but no BlackBerry radio connection for data.

Office phone: When I closed my Branson office, I kept my Branson phone number, which rings at the Ozark office, but is forwarded to my Verizon cell phone. My office phone system uses VOIP, which means my phones are plugged into the internet, so that I could get local calls from Branson, even if I plugged my phone in an internet connection in Africa.

Computer networks: I have a network in my house, which is wired and wireless (protected by encryption). I can connect my laptop from home, via the internet, to my office network.

While my iPad, Mac, BlackBerry and Windows computers don’t always connect well with one another though my networks, my Gmail is equally accessible from all of them, using IMAP to keep my inboxes synchronized. I also use Dropbox.com to share and synchronize files across the various kinds of devices that I use.

Television: DirectTV satellite.

Next time you see me, you probably won’t ask, “How are you?”

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About Harry Styron

I'm a lawyer who lives in Branson, Missouri, whose professional interests involve real estate, construction and local government.

4 responses »

  1. Harry: A great item! I loved it! I’m going to forward it to some folks who might appreciate it. Do you remember the scene in “Our Town” in which there is a similar analysis by the Stage Manager about the set? In our age of “connectedness,” things have changed a lot since Wilder’s play!

    Reply
  2. I vaguely remember identifying with the Stage Manager as he spoke to the audience, telliing them about the setting where George and Emily would live their lives.

    And I especially appreciate your sending my post to others who may enjoy it.

    Reply
  3. Enjoyed this lots. It would take me a pot of coffee or two (rather than a cup or two) to get so well oriented. A friend once observed of me, “I’ll bet when you’re in the shower you’re thinking about the philosophy of plumbing.” She was dead on.

    Reply
    • Thanks, John. It would take me longer to mentally sign on to the conscious world, but some stuff doesn’t change, and not all of my memory is RAM.

      However, this morning, I couldn’t remember a password to my computer network for a half hour, even though I have been using it several times each day for a year.

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