28 January, 2011

We might as well have been cave people

Wednesday night Thomas and I were watching an interesting movie, Secret Society. The snow was coming down like gangbusters outside, but we were warm and cozy right up until the moment that the power went out.
It wasn’t too bad in the house on Wednesday. We were still warm, there was hot water coming from the faucets, and we had plenty of candles and flashlights. It was cold in the morning, but we still had hot water, and since we got up and out to work, it wasn’t so bad. Yesterday from 5:00 onwards, it was very bad. The house was about 41 degrees, the same temperature as outside. I spent most of the evening huddled under the covers, clutching Ginger (the only one of the dogs that you can cuddle) and drowsing, hoping that the power was about to come back on any minute now! The phone was not even working so I couldn’t call anyone and complain about the lack of power.
Thomas came home late, after a trip to the gym to work out and have a long, hot shower. Quickly he joined me under four layers of covers, and adding his 98.6 to my 97.5, (my actual standard temp!) made the bed the only place in the house that was actually comfortable. It was a three-dog night; all three of them joined us on The USS Chilly Sheets. Trips to the bathroom or to let the dogs out were exercises in misery.
I gave up at about 6:30 this morning, so I hauled myself out to the Y for a swim and my own personal long, hot shower. Right now, I am thrilled to be at work where we have lights, heat, and phones. BG&E says we should have power back this afternoon, and I hope they are correct.
Last night I had a lot of time to think about how much I am dependent on electricity at the flip of a switch. If I don’t have it, I am cold and in the dark. I could have lit a fire in the fireplace, but that doesn’t provide any real heat in most of the house. I would have to wrap myself in blankets and lie down right in front of it to get any comfort. I do have flashlights, candles, and an oil lamp, but I found that I couldn’t enjoy any of my usual hobbies. Reading by flashlight was not fun because my hands became freezing and clumsy in just a few minutes. The sewing machine didn’t work, and doing hand-sewing by flashlight would have the same challenges as reading. My thoughts about entertainment went like this:
“Well, if I can’t read or go on the internet, I’ll just listen to the radio. Except I can’t do that either. I could cook something, but I can’t do that inside, and it’s too windy outside to stand over the grill. I think I’ll just go to bed and sleep until the 21st century comes back.”
My thoughts went to the cold winters that Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote about out there on the Great Plains. Remember how they slept with their clothes under the covers, and they had to roll newspapers to burn in the stove/fireplace?
I guess when it comes down to it I am not prepared to live in a world without the modern conveniences we enjoy thanks to cheap and plentiful electricity. If society ever collapses around our ears, I will be one of the first to go, I don’t have what it takes to go back to pioneer times.
Friday, later: I’m now home, we have heat, power, television, computer, and everything else we were missing yesterday. I am glad.


  1. I heard a poll somewhere recently, and the question was basically this: If you could choose, would you rather (a) live in modern times with a guaranteed middle-income salary of $60,000/year or (b) live in the year 1900 with the same annual income, which would make you very wealthy. All of these idiots were choosing 100 years ago! All I could think of was...no feminine hygiene products - forget about it!

  2. Let's see: No ibuprofen. No antibiotics. No Coca Cola or Doritos. No Terry Pratchett. No vote for us female types. No modern dentistry.

    No electricity or Netfix?

    No thanks.