Image courtesy of phanlop88 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
The first thing I noticed in my semi-sleep was the sound of silence. No noise machine running. That’s odd, I thought. Seconds later, there was a bright flash of light outside, then total darkness again. It didn’t seem quite like lightning, but what else would it be? I fumbled my way to the kitchen, trying a few switches along the way without any success. Looking out the window, there was not a single light anywhere in the neighborhood. Not even those blinking red smart-meter lights. Just pitch black.
My cell phone showed the time to be about 6:00 am. No point in going back to sleep. Using its light, I found some stubby candles and lit them for the kitchen and bathroom. Got my coffee going in the single-serving stove percolator I use every morning, and hand-lit the gas burner. Stirred my half-cup of oatmeal in with a cup and a half of water, and set it to simmering on the stove. The room was a little cool because the furnace couldn’t run, but the stove generated a bit of warmth, and it felt good.
Then I just sat there at the table enjoying the peace of the moment. The house was so quiet that I could hear the tick-tick-ticking of my battery-operated wall clock. Time actually seemed to slow down. I thought about the billions of people before me that lived without electricity each day. Everything in life had to be thought out and planned carefully, from preparing food and keeping it from spoiling, to bathing and staying warm. I envied their ability to live a normal, productive life without electricity.
Well, the power was out for about 4 hours, for no apparent reason. There was enough hot water for quick showers for the family. The garage door had to be pried open to allow us to get our cars out of the garage. Most of our morning routines – answering e-mails, looking at the weather forecast, checking Facebook, running a load of laundry, and ironing some pants – were simply skipped. We got ourselves to our house of worship clean and fed, and even on time, so we really didn’t lose anything, did we? And maybe because of the way my day started, I see things more clearly…