Self-knowledge is the beginning of self-improvement.

~ Spanish Proverb ~

The Power Went Out

February 25th, 2013 ~ Est. reading time: 2 mins, 8 secs

Sometimes candle power has to do.

I stepped out of the toilet and, suddenly, the power went out. Now, I don’t normally string those two things together… but that’s what happened.

Downstairs, Ruth is already finding candles and the glow of laptop screens is faintly illuminating the walls.

Stumbling out of the front door and immediately heard the chatter of neighbors, wondering about the blackout. Around us, the entire street and behind has been plunged into darkness. While, high on the hill, the familiar sight of streetlights and windows continues, quietly defying the night.

Do you remember the last time you were without power? What happened? And how did you manage with nothing working?

Having electrical power defines so much of modern life, doesn’t it? It means all your:

  • Appliances
  • Refrigeration
  • Heating
  • Cooking
  • Communication, and
  • Entertainment

can go, when and where you want it. But, switch the power off and instantly everything changes. Within seconds, we are back to life a few hundred years ago (or, more pointedly, living like so many people still do where power has never been connected).

Apart from the inconvenience (it’s no big drama if the power comes back on in an hour or so), I don’t mind too much. The family is close by and the inviting sight of candlelight draws us all closer together.

Still, I can feel my potentials subsiding without power to turn up the music, switch channels, or see what’s in the back of the fridge. I’m also reminded how dependent we are on people we’ve never met to help. As independent as we seem, we definitely need each other. Even to do the simplest things… like heat up a cup of coffee or tea.

What if life was like this all the time? What would be different about the way we live? If you are in a developed country gas would probably run your stove (if it doesn’t already), your refrigerator, and perhaps your lights. Cars, meanwhile, could plug into your house at night to power a few things, and maybe a set of solar panels or wind generators could operate the rest.

In short, we’d find new ways to do things. Power is so beneficial; a life without it would be a massive backward step. Romantic as candlelight and ideals of the simple life are, we have an awful lot to be thankful for.

Next time your power goes off (whenever that happens to be), you can be assured that people you don’t know will immediately start working diligently to get everything all going again.

True, we can manage without power. But having it makes us more capable. Electricity brings facilities and freedoms we scarcely appreciate (until we are suddenly deprived).

Whenever the power comes back on, I’ll update this post (so if you are reading this, you know it’s going again). But I’d say it does us good missing what we like, at least once in a while. Now, where did I put those matches? 

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