So the computer failed to start up the other morning. Our power got knocked off in a storm, and the computer was dead. My superb trouble-shooting skills led to me believe that the the storm wasn't so much the cause of the problem, but rather coincidentally the power supply had given up the ghost (thankfully not the motherboard). After 20 minutes of on-line snooping off the other computer, I determined that all this idiot needed to do was pull out the old power box and plug in a new one. Which is really all that was needed. A quick trip to Best Buy and problem solved. Sometimes i'm so proud of my mechanical abilities. . .
The bigger issue here wasn't the computer not starting up. . .it was the helplessness one feels when the power is out. It wasn't a particularly big and nasty storm, but the power was off for two hours.
First: at 11pm, you realize how deadly quiet things are in the house. No fan. No refrigerator. And how dark: no glowing LED's of various plug-ins and appliances. No hallway nightlights.
Second: I had no entertainment! No television or radio. No computer--not even the laptop, since the wi-fi needs power to throw out a signal. If I were a true pioneer I'd read by the glow of an oil-lamp (and in the future, who knows if that will be possible when all our books are on Kindle.
Third: We're wimps. How could we survive without electricity? Eventually, even our cell phones need to be plugged in to recharge. We can't cook (at least without cans of sterno), we can't spend money (who has cash anymore? it's all plastic cards, and when you DO need cash, you usually get it from an electrically-powered ATM machine). We couldn't get gasoline at the mini-mart (the days of gravity-fed gas pumps are aroudn 60 years in the past). Take away our water supply, and we'd really be up shit creek. It was bad enough that the DVR wasn't able to record the ending of Mad Men or Breaking Bad this week. . .
E. was awakened by the storm and came downstairs and joined me in the dark, on the couch. I held him and I told him how fortunate he was to live in a time and place where temporary power outages were merely an inconvienence. Be thankful, I said, we don't live in a place where power is a luxury only a few can afford, or that power has been knocked out entirely because of war.
Without electricity, we'd all soon become a bunch of refugees. And pray that that doesn't happen. Can you imagine, millions of whining Americans in relocation camps?