June 5, 2020
As I sat at my computer on the kitchen table this morning, I heard a loud bang near my house. Then the power went out for the entire neighborhood. I know transformers can blow when they get struck by lightning, but there were no clouds in the sky. I have also known them to blow when it gets hot and everyone decides to kick on the air conditioning at once, but this was 9:00 am. I guess it just blew because it was its time.
I checked the outage map and it assured me the power would be restored by 1:00 pm. One pm! That was four hours, what was I supposed to do without power for four hours? I read my paper and worked the crossword as I sipped my coffee. I went back to the Keurig for my usual second cup, and it was dead. No problem. Since I had a charged battery on my computer, I could surf the internet. I fired up the laptop and tried to get online. Whoops, the router ran off electricity so the WiFi was down. I loaded the dishwasher with the plates from last night’s dinner and turned it on. No power. I went outside and checked my garden. We had a big rain last night so there was no need to water. I came back inside and checked the clock. It was 9:30. Only three and a half hours to go.
In my despair I realized my iPhone was a hotspot. I went to settings and turned it on and tried to connect. It immediately told me I needed to update some software which I did. The phone still would not connect. “Trouble finding server.” I got the USB cable and plugged my phone into the computer. It worked! I surfed for another 30 minutes and then figured I should get to work. I went into my office, connected my phone to the office computer and this time it automatically detected and brought up the hotspot. I could not believe how hot and stuffy it was in the office without the air on. As I began to work my printer came on. Unbelievably, I had survived a whole hour without power.
THOUGHTS: Electricity is something we take for granted, yet our lives revolve around the gadgets for which it provides power. When it went out, I initially continued to do what I normally do. I found that one task after another was unavailable without this power. Before I realized my batteries allowed me to circumvent the electrical grid, I became anxious wondering what to do for four hours without any “connections.” It is hard to believe but 940 million people, or 13% of the world, do not have access to electricity. Perhaps I should reevaluate how privileged I am. If you venture out, stay safe.