Sunday, September 10, 2017

Musings 170909

Day 5 without electricity. Ours went out with the first drop of rain and first little gust of wind on Wednesday morning. Some areas around us are slowly getting electric back. We will eventually.

After eleven years of having the same conversation about a generator (Should we get one? How big? What will we plug into it? Where will we store it? Where will we run it [hate the noise and fumes]? And on and on and on.) Yesterday, for the first time, we said "maybe." So I went looking. Would you believe it? There is not a generator available on this island! Not one!

I've thought a lot about this living without electric thing. It's such a First World problem. A hundred years ago most of the world didn't have electricity. Huge chunks of it still don't. But it's the life we've set ourselves up for. We  expect that electric power to be there. Okay, we'll make short term temporary allowances for hurricanes, blizzards and ice storms. But only short term and very temporary.We expect our lives to be disrupted as little as possible and restored as quickly as possible.

Granted, I live on a tropical island, not in the north anymore. When the poser goes out here, nobody freezes to death as happens with absurd regularity in northern winter storms.

Yes, it's hot. But we don't have air conditioning anyway. Yes, we're scrambling to eat or find ice or find some one with power or a generator for the perishable food in our 'fridge and freezer. Yes, I'm annoyed because I don't have a really cold beer right here.

But that's all just an inconvenience! I realize there are people with medical issues for whom a power outage is much more serous than just an inconvenience. But for the great majority of us that's all it is,, an inconvenience, not a crisis. Okay, our Internet isn't available (this may be the most difficult one for me). No two-hundred-channel cable TV (which we don't have anyway.) So what?

The "so what?" is we are so dependent on it. Even poor Amber, our 17-year-old Vizsla. He lies on the bed, staring at the unmoving fan and panting. I know it's hot, Buddy. It will come back on. Sometime.

Pretty much all our communication is electronic. Does anyone even have a home land line anymore? We don't. Even we have cell phones. We aren't slaves to them the way some people we know are, but we have them. And use them. Right now I'm using mine as a "portable hotspot" so I can keep my computer connected to the web to write this. How cool is that?

I don't remember the last time I wrote a letter. We email. (Probably the last time I did write a letter I most likely sent it as an attachment or an email). Or worse yet we Facebook message or text. A few very intelligent people I know cn't (or won't) have telephone conversation. They only text. In that god-awful text shorthand.

I'm not a raving survivalist but I've wanted to live more simply and self-sufficiently and off-the-grid since college in the 1970s. I guess I haven't wanted it badly enough to actually do anything about it! I confess I allowed myself to be wooed to some degree by the "dark side." It's easy. When it works it's great. When it doesn't, we're frustrated.
Could I learn a different, less dependent way to live? Could I give up my computer and my digital photography? Could I give up my scuba diving (which is dependent on electricity to power the compressor for air)? Could I give up access to the Internet which for all it's craziness is still a great tool for learning and sharing? Could I learn Buteat fresh and not depend on refrigeration? That seems like a bit of a copout. I would just be depending on someone else's refrigeration. And given the way things are here on the island, I would have to drive everyday to find my fresh food. Is that any better?

It's amazing the acid trip five days without electricity can send your head on.

To all our friends in Florida in Irma's path: Please stay safe. Catch you on the back side.

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