Recently I was in physical therapy three times a week for three months and needed something to do while my legs were packed in ice at the end of each session. I started taking my iPad so I could work puzzles, read books, or listen to podcasts. I’d return home exhausted and sore, ooze my way out of the car, and hear “prink!” Now it’s become a habit to have my iPad with me, and whether I’ve been to the doctor, grocery shopping, or running errands, as I get out of the car I hear “prink!”, and I smile.
You see, my iPad makes that sound when it connects to a Wi-Fi network. It makes the same sound no matter what network it connects to, but if I connect to the Wi-Fi at the doctor’s office, car dealership, or wherever, it’s not the same. In any of those places I have to decide to connect, go to the settings menu, choose the right network, click, be taken to a webpage requesting I click on something to prove I’m not a robot, maybe enter a password, and then I’m connected. But home? It knows me. My iPad and my house know each other. The connection is there, waiting. I don’t need websites, decisions, or permission. I don’t even need to actually be inside. As I step out of the car, the connection reaches out and says “Hey! I know you!” and my device says, “Hey! I know you, too!” And they connect. Isn’t that what home is all about?
That “prink!” only makes me smile when it connects to the Wi-Fi in my house. It’s the sound that says “I’m home”: the sound that says the work of interacting with the world is done. No decision to make. No permission to seek. Just instant connection. Deep breath. I’m home.