Power is a very important thing, a concept that I only fully realized when we didn't have any. We live in the center of New Jersey, right in the path of Hurricane Sandy and the recent nor'easter storm, so we got hit twice.
The first time was kind of fun, as it always is, for the first day. My husband had to stay home from work, since they had no power there either. He did work during the day on his iPhone, which we recharged on our car. Outside, the rain fell and the wind whirled, giving us a secure feeling. As night fell, I lit a try filled with candles and we started a fire. We played Uno (our daughter won) and I read books out loud to her. There was a certain solidarity, a family feeling of togetherness that we hadn't had in a long time.
Perhaps the power stole it away.
The next day wasn't so fun. The well stopped working, and we had to flush the toilet with water from the tub. That makes you confront nature and survival - fast. There were no showers to be had, of course, nor could I wash dishes. I believe I became pretty cranky that day, born of fright as I saw the water supply dwindle.
Still, we read more books and played more Uno (kid won again, which made her very happy.)
On the third day, we had had it. We loaded up the car with empty water bottles, dirty dishes, dirty clothes, and our own dirty selves. We drove to my brother-in-laws house where I had the longest, hottest shower of my life. I washed all the dishes. I did the laundry. We turned on the news. We charged up our electronics.
Kid played iPod, and I checked in on my laptop. That family solidarity melted away.
We went to a diner and had stuff that you can't eat without power - salad and baked potatoes and ice cream. I kept going to the bathroom just for the wonder of being able to watch a toilet flush, whenever you want it to. We stopped and got gas and more water and canned foods (I won't be able to eat soup or Spaghettios for a very, very long time.)
Arrived back home, and the fun returned, since we were all clean. We played more Uno. Read more books.
When the power came back on, the feeling was - indescribable. It was the middle of the night and I was adding wood to the fire to keep it burning. I was in a daze. What the hell is that? I remember thinking. Kid was ecstatic when she found out she could watch TV the next morning. I scrubbed the floors and toilets, and did about ten more loads of laundry.
And then the Nor'easter came - and it all happened again.
Now as I write this on my laptop, I can hear the power rushing through the house. The fridge is humming. So is the heat. And it is wonderful to have, and I feel desperately sorry for those folks who survived BOTH storms without power at all, but I wonder - with all the electricity and convenience, what have we traded for that? My kid won't want to sit and read books anymore. We won't play Uno together again, nor have carpet picnics.
I'll be interested to watch the upcoming show, Revolution, about the permanent loss of power on Earth. I think there is a mental adjustment, a deep psychological change that occurs with a severe change in lifestyle, but whether it is good or bad, I have yet to decide for myself.