Nestled in the western wilderness of Berkshire County and several miles from the New York border, the town of Hancock, Massachusetts is a hamlet of serenity.
After hiking two miles to the summit of Jiminy Peak on a partly cloudy morning, I gazed over the mountains and valleys that lay spread before me.
Invoking the day’s beauty, I thought about John Hancock’s legacy as the 4th and 13th President of the Continental Congress and the 1st and 3rd Governor of Massachusetts. I wondered how he would react to cellphones, technology, and modern amenities that we take for granted.
On the day I visited the mountain, cellphone service was nonexistent and public internet access was only available in the hotel lobby.
“I would like to issue a complaint,” my sister and I heard a woman say to the front desk manager.
“I have stayed at many Wyndham Vacation resorts but yours is the first that only has one public kiosk. I don’t want to wait in line. The internet should be more accessible.”
Instead of bringing her own laptop computer (as I did) or waiting in line with everyone else, she used her privilege to complain.
I would like to think that Hancock would agree with me.
One of his quotes is apropos: “A chip on the shoulder is too heavy a piece of baggage to carry through life.”
A version of this blog post was originally written on July 1, 2008.