Thursday, February 7, 2013

Survival #3: Coping Without Power

When the weather is bad and I hear about people going 'without power,' my immediate reaction is usually mild amusement. I spent about five years of my preteens and teens without electricity, and it's not so bad. But then I realize, my family was prepared for it. Our lifestyle didn't depend on electricity, and that makes a lot of difference.

And maybe that's why, when a line breaks and the lights go off, I don't call that being without power. Our muscles and our brains still work fine; it's only the electricity that's failed.
I learned a lot about how much we rely on electricity, even have trouble imagining living without it, when I asked my Facebook friends to help me come up with tips for getting along during an outage. Nearly half the people who responded made suggestions that would require electricity. Also, a lot of the discussion was focused on ways to entertain ourselves while waiting for the lights to come back on.  It seems my friends thought I was talking about an outage that would last for just a day or less. I didn't realize anyone thought those little ones were worth preparing for: you just catch up on your manual chores while the daylight lasts, and go to bed at dusk. I did get some great suggestions in response to that question, but as a writer, I also learned something even better: I got a glimpse into how people think.

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