As I sit here about mid-morning on February 12, 2010, pounding away on my unconnected netbook and, thus, on what is eerily like my last contact with the 21st Century, I let my mind wander back to the lives of my ancestors who lived out their time here in the 19th and earlier centuries without electricity and the electronic devices I have come to depend on for so much in my life.
I am reduced to such thoughts due to the power outage growing out of the seven-inch accumulation of snowfall. Power has been out for and hour and half, and I’m beginning to grow a bit antsy.
I can’t turn on a light switch and get instant light on whatever I am doing. I can’t check my phone machine for missed messages (although a battery backup from the cable company keeps the phone line working at present.) I can’t get cable service due to the need for electricity to power my cable boxes, but that’s not very big considering I need the same electricity to run my television sets anyway. The downside is that my internet service provider is also my cable provider. I am writing this in hopes it will be found by any survivors, and it will be shared with the world.
Toilets are working, and I have running water. That’s very good. On the other hand the refrigerator is now racing against the clock to spoil all the food inside. For our safety, we don’t have natural gas, and they (the anonymous they) try to discourage tanks of liquid gas on the properties here, so no electricity means no heat. Yes, we have a fire place, but it is only a matter of time before we will be breaking up furniture to get some dry wood to burn.
It took me six tries to get my car UP and out of my driveway earlier this morning (with only minimal damage to the car and a nearby tree), so I broke association rules and left it parked on the side of the road. Because of that I can get out and drive over the activity center (about four miles away) for a hot lunch and to use their wireless internet connection. The bad news is that the wife keeps saying she’s not going — something about eating soup and roasting hot dogs at the fireplace.
My ancestors lived in log cabins, no electricity and with just a fireplace for warmth. If they had time to write out something like this, it was most likely with pencil and paper, and they were most likely thankful for having the things I am moaning about having to live with.
Sometimes I wonder about how they made that long trip from eastern Tennessee to eastern Texas before cars, trains, buses, and airlines when I sometimes find myself dreading the 30 mile trip into Tyler in an air-conditioned car.
If I had been the ancestor, I wonder if all the family today might still be living somewhere on the road well short of Texas and nearer Tennessee.
Posted here AFTER the electricity came back on (for the third time, but at least it stayed on this time).