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7 stories of people who were off grid during major events and came back to a changed world

On February 19, 2020, a group of outdoor adventurists took a 25-day rafting trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. During the trip, they had no cell service and no contact with the outside world. When they ended they ended their journey on March 14, the man who pulled them ashore asked if they had been in touch with anyone else. When the rafters said no, the man sighed, then launched into an explanation of how the globe had been gripped by the coronavirus pandemic and everything had come to a screeching halt.

The rafters listened with bewilderment as they were told about toilet paper shortages and the NBA season being canceled and everyone being asked to stay at home. One of the river guides, who had done these kinds of off-grid excursions multiple times, said that they'd often joke about coming back to a completely different world—it had just never actually happened before.

The rafters' story was shared in the New York Times last spring, but they're not the only ones to have had such an experience.


Twitter user @thought_grime shared a mind-blowing story of a man who came extraordinarily late to the pandemic party last winter.

"I will never forget the guy who came into my work this past December with no mask on saying, 'Can somebody please tell me what's going on!!??'" they wrote. "We gave him a mask, learned that he had been living off the grid for a while, and had not yet learned that there was a global pandemic. He was so sweet and so confused and he said he only came to town because he ran out of oats."

People who live that far off the grid for that long are rare, but they exist. It's hard to imagine being that unplugged from society, but even those who disconnect even temporarily can find themselves returning to a world that's very different than the one they left, sometimes just days before.

Imagine being backwoods camping when 9/11 happened. Or when the Soviet Union fell. Imagine coming back to a world forever changed by a major event you had no idea had occurred.

It's hard to imagine now with everyone carrying internet-enabled cell phones, but even being disconnected for a matter of hours can leave a person feeling dazed and confused if they miss a major event. There were some people who didn't know their loved ones were safe after 9/11 hours after it had happened, and even some people who didn't know it had happened.

We've become accustomed to news coming to us in real- time, but it wasn't that long ago that news of only extraordinary news events warranted interrupting regular television programming. And prior to television, news came out only as fast as word of mouth and print newspapers could carry it.

These days, it's generally people who have chosen to live in isolation or those who are living someplace remote who find themselves blindsided by major world changes that they missed.

For instance, imagine what it was like for this team of science researchers studying on a remote atoll 1300 miles from Hawaii, who returned to civilization—and a raging pandemic they hadn't heard about—in December.

Isolated Science Researchers Learn of Pandemic 8 Months Inwww.youtube.com

Absolutely wild.

There are other instances of people missing out on news as well, either due to being in a coma or in prison or some other circumstance.


Living in the age of constant connectedness and instant information makes these kinds of stories all the more incredible, and perhaps ironically, also makes them more accessible to more people. The fact that some of us can miss big things due to a lack of technology, and then utilize the technology we were lacking to share that experience with millions is a sort of surreal sign of the times.

What a weird and wonderful time to be a human.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

This article originally appeared on 08.21.18


Addie Rodriguez was supposed to take the field with her dad during a high school football game, where he, along with other dads, would lift her onto his shoulders for a routine. But Addie's dad was halfway across the country, unable to make the event.

Her father is Abel Rodriguez, a veteran airman who, after tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, was training at Travis Air Force Base in California, 1,700 miles from his family in San Antonio at the time.

"Mom missed the memo it was parent day, and the reason her mom missed the memo was her dad left Wednesday," said Alexis Perry-Rodriguez, Addie's mom. She continued, "It was really heartbreaking to see your daughter standing out there being the only one without their father, knowing why he's away. It's not just an absentee parent. He's serving our country."

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Pop Culture

She bought the perfect wedding dress that went viral on TikTok. It was only $3.75

Lynch is part of a growing line of newlyweds going against the regular wedding tradition of spending loads of money.

Making a priceless memory

Upon first glance, one might think that Jillian Lynch wore a traditional (read: expensive) dress to her wedding. After all, it did look glamorous on her. But this 32-year-old bride has a secret superpower: thrifting.

Lynch posted her bargain hunt on TikTok, sharing that she had been perusing thrift shops in Ohio for four days in a row, with the actual ceremony being only a month away. Lynch then displays an elegant ivory-colored Camila Coelho dress. Fitting perfectly, still brand new and with the tags on it, no less.

You can find that exact same dress on Revolve for $220. Lynch bought it for only $3.75.
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