Last weekend, there was an accident that knocked-out power to the majority of the town nearby. I was in the midst of getting groceries when the power went out. Fortunately, I had cash and was able to buy pretty much everything I needed. This was around 11am or so. The power wasn’t restored until 8:30pm that night. A long enough day for a power-outage, considering it wasn’t weather-related, so no one was stocked up/ prepared. But people got through it and life went on, no huge deal.
What caught my attention on Facebook was a post and comments one of my friends made about the power outage and what they were going to do with no power. They were talking about what they were going to do without Netflix, how bored they would be without electricity, etc.
Being younger than me, I made the usual comment “Frickin’ kids”, telling them what they could do without electricity, like read, play card or a board game, or actually hang-out and chat with family.
Of course, as long as their smartphones and tablets were charged up, they’d be starring zombie-fied until the power returned, so they could re-charge their device and stare zombie-fied at whatever other screen caught their attention.
All of this reminded me of the Ice Storm of 1998, where large swathes of the Ottawa area were without power, some for months. Where I was living at the time lost power for only three or four days, but when you have no power for longer than a day or two, you begin to notice how different life can be without it. Even the blackout of Ontario and New York state back in 2002 or so showed how important electricity is to us. But it also showed that we could get by, somehow,
But with all this knowledge, it makes me wonder, with our growing need for electricity, will there come a time when, if the power goes out for longer than our smartphones and tablets can be charged, who will we react?
Personally, I think it depends on the generation.
For example, my parent’s generation wouldn’t be overly bothered by a lengthy blackout. My Mom has told me on numerous occasions, how she lived on a farm without electricity for many of her teen-aged years. Many of her generation have endured a lot, and probably have ways to deal with lack of power, especially if they are country folks. Sorry city folks, but unless you can build a fire in your living room (via a wood stove), or a fire in your yard (if you have one), then you may be doing without some essentials like heat, cooked food, and boiling water if necessary. The true, hard-core country folks and hunters, would have the means to get food…
As you may have guessed, I’m not talking about a couple-of-days power outage. I’m talking about the kind that could very well happen if, say a massive solar flare hit the right spot and knocked out power to, like eastern North American. The kind of power outage where it could take weeks to fix.
So, I’m thinking most of my parent’s generation would be ok, for the most part.
Their kids (people my age), depending on where they live and how they were brought up, would make it too.
Here’s where things could get interesting, because the generation after me might have problems. There are the exceptions of course, like those brought up like their parents and grandparents would do ok, but they might struggle a little.
But what about the generation that has become spoiled brats? You may know the generation as the one that walks down the street and into traffic while staring at their smartphones. The ones who are used to snow days when their “might” be snow, thus having 10 or more snow days in one winter. The ones who go into fits of violent rage because someone beat them at Call of Duty online. The ones who manipulate their divorced parents to get anything and everything they want. The ones who have little or no respect for anyone because it isn’t “cool”.
Not all of them are like this, of course. But what would happen to the ones who are?
One of two things would happen…
1. They would smarten their asses up and do what was needed… eventually
2. They would be eaten by packs of ravenous dogs that have gone feral due to the power outage.
Which sorta brings me to my point…
We ALL rely too much on electricity and technology.
As much as it pains me to say it, there are people from my generation who are just as bad as the next generation is with technology, gadgets, and all things electrical. Some are more conscious of it than others, but most of us, myself included, are so used to the cool, electric glow provided to us by our lights and screens, that when it is taken away, it takes us time to adjust.
For the older generation (IE: my Mom), it may not take as long. Power goes out? The candles are lit, cards are brought out, or books are read, or whatever. My generation takes us a little longer. But, depending on our up-bringing, we can adjust fairly quickly. Same goes for the current generation, except their may be some who cling to the smartphone and tablet, praying the screen doesn’t fade away completely.
One day this summer, I may switch everything off and enjoy a day without computers, smartphones, TVs, or anything else like that. Because I think that is the most important point of all. Many of us have lost touch with that simplicity. Maybe we should all try it one day and see what its like.