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3/10/10 Word of the Day: rizzo

As has been the pattern for the past few weeks, I never get to have all three connectivity keys – electricity, internet rizzo, and cell phone rizzo – at the same time. Right now, I have electricity but neither network, so I’m typing this entry into my laptop in hopes that I’ll be able to post it sometime soon. Soonish. Well, whenever, really. =/

So what is this “rizzo”?

It’s actually one of the many words that Tam has borrowed from Darija (Moroccan Arabic), which in turn stole it outright from French.

Originally, the word was réseau, meaning network. But as wireless technology has leapfrogged landline technology out here, as it has in so many third-world countries, rizzo has taken on new shades of meaning. Moroccans will ask if there is rizzo the way an American would ask a friend if they have “signal” or “coverage” – that is, if there are any bars of connectivity visible on their cell phone.

Is illa rizzo? Is there rizzo?

Eyyah, illa shwiya. Yeah, there’s a little. (ie, I have two or three bars out of five)

My internet connection runs through a dialup connection, but I don’t actually have a phone line. I have a small phone that’s not plugged into anything (well, except the wall, for electricity). It has a built-in antenna that sends a signal to the radio tower perched next to the cell phone company’s tower, on the hill just east of town. If the antenna from my “landline” (now there’s a misnomer) can see the radio tower, and if the radio tower itself has electricity, then that tower sends a signal up to a satellite, and just like that, my little lappy can talk to the outside world. I have “internet rizzo”.

Similarly, if my cell phone can talk to the cell tower, and the cell tower has enough electricity to talk to its satellite, my little snickers bar cell phone can talk to the outside world. (Or even to the cell phone of my friends next door.) I have cellphone rizzo.

Both towers have power generators, so sometimes they work even when there’s no electricity. And my phone, laptop, and cell all have their own batteries, so sometimes I can still be in communication when the power is out.

But this past few weeks, possibly because of the incessant wind/snow/wind/rain storms (and yes, I put wind in there twice – the winds have been at least twice as powerful and twice as common as precipitation in any form), none of the three – electricity, cell rizzo, or internet rizzo – have been dependable.

Oh, and the cycling of the powerouts appears to have zapped my laptop’s battery for once and for all. My lappy is now insisting that it doesn’t *have* a battery, which is a worrying sign, to say the least…

Ooh, hey, cell rizzo just came back! OK, I’m off to shoot a message to a buddy… Bye!

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