Saturday, June 30, 2012

Why I Like Power Outages

OK so I know power outages are causing trouble and headache for folks across the country.   They cause food to spoil.  [Hint:  Call your homeowner's insurance company and they'll probably cut you a check for that.]  The damage that caused the power outage also likely caused damage and destruction and sometimes death from injury, extreme heat, extreme cold or failure of medical equipment.  Yikes.  I almost don't want to go forward with this post.

But forward I will go into that dark night.

We've had power outages for days on end, both in the winter and summer months. All times, I've pretty much enjoyed it.  Yes, I've had people call me crazy, poke fun at me, mock me, torment me [ok not that last one] but I stand by my emotions.  I {mostly) like it when the power goes out and here's why.

1)  It's quiet.  Real quiet.  Not 'real' as in 'very but 'real' as in 'genuine.'  Genuinely quiet.  The kind of quiet that these days in America, you have to go into a cave to hear.  It's a little unnerving at first.  Where is that hum of electricity?  But then.... it's calming.  You hear birds and animals outside.  This is what the world really sounds like.  It reminds me - this is nature's world and we're just living in it.

2) It's dark.  Real dark (real = genuine, again).  I now know what my house looks like at night without its makeup on.  I am reminded of what people mean by 'light pollution.'  I don't have the neighbor's spotlight shining in our window.  It's soothing.

3) It's hot.  I don't mind being very hot as long as I can stay hydrated.  You get used to it.  People all over the world have to be very hot their whole lives. It reminds me that this is how the world really feels.

4) No TV.  No Internet.  Smartphones until they die.  Again, back to basics.  To *real* reality, without the luxurious modern conveniences that we 'love' but leave us wondering - do I need it?  Am I controlling it or is it controlling me?  When you can't turn it on, the answers to those questions become more clear.  We read more.  We talk to our neighbors more.  We tell more stories and don't rely on power to help us connect.

5) I feel spoiled.  Is this a good thing?  Yes.  I believe it's good to be reminded of those things in life that we take for granted that many in the world do not have that could benefit them.  I appreciated my access to refrigeration, and air that keeps me at a comfortable temperature, and devices that keep me engaged and informed of the world.  When they turn back on, I think - I'll try to appreciate them more.

6) I feel sad.  I think about my friends in Togo where I lived 10 years ago.  In so many ways, electricity would benefit them.  Keeping vaccines and medicines at the right temperature.  Light to help children read and study by at night.  Electricity for devices that would connect them to the world so they would know their dictator was not god.  I'm happy to be reminded of Togo even if it springs from sadness.

That's why I like it.  Call me crazy!

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