Monday, July 2, 2012
The Beauty of Electricity
In case the reader hasn't heard, three million people are left without power after a storm with winds equivalent to the winds of an F1 tornado. Just as easily as power was given, power was taken away by... More power. This time it was power of the natural sort. Unfortunately, I happened to be in the way of this storm at camp. The following is my Facebook status, which I think explains my situation quite well:
"This was how camp ended and why I'm home. My last night, by the way:
No air-conditioning and the dorms were even hotter than the outside. We have to eat grilled food because the food in the cafeteria was limited in food (they had a backup generator, which was something). I slept on a floor last night because they moved us out of the dorms because of how hot it was, dealing with random alarm bells in the middle of the night, boy's jeers from the other side and random kids going on on [sic] stretchers (who passed out). I couldn't even lay out all of the way because they needed a lane for the kids on stretchers and counselors so fetal position for me. Disaster."
I left out, of course, the terrifying random alarm that happened earlier that night that left us in lockdown (it was dark, hot and there was no way of talking to our parents). It turned out it was a false alarm, but we were not told what was going on. Due to the variety of unsafe conditions the power outage caused (and the fact that the power company had no idea when the power would come back on), we were sent home short-notice.
Anyway, I'm back home in Pennsylvania, where everything is safe and I'm alright now. I have more electricity than I need and so much to waste. However, this experience has taught me quite a lot about my reliance on electricity and technology.
Electricity fuels so much. Through air-conditioning, it makes places safer and through refridgeration, it also allows food to stay cold and not rot. It burns fires for us so that we can cook and stay warm (in winter). It lets us sleep comfortably and complete a variety of tasks in a way that is much safer than ever before. Of course, it also lets us travel in the dark so that we don't bump into things and so we can do things in the night that require light (like reading and things of that nature. Light is necessary in both of them. Let's just say that during the time with no power I desperately wished that I could learn Braille somehow).
Also, electricity gives me a variety of things to choose from in terms of food and transportation, and I'm not nearly as limited in choices. Through it, we have running water and running water is safe. In a way, it also gives us the Internet and cell service and both of those things give me a way to communicate from far distances and that makes so much difference. Not to mention, electricity pretty much provides all of the entertainment that we now have.
It's amazing how desperate I felt when both my laptop and cell phone finally died. It felt terrible to write down on paper rather than the computer and to feel at mercy to hand cramps and lack of light. I had no way to contact anyone at all. Not to mention, I was so much more bored without either of those things.
Without electricity, our civilization would crumble. There would be panic attacks and murder/suicide attempts and completions all across the nation because people would go insane (and they would become lost). In essence, it is pretty much a safety blanket and it is something that we are addicted to as a society. Electricity is integral to our current state of survival, comfort, and our way of living.
It's funny now that I have an idea for a book that takes place in wilderness. Let's just say that this adds a whole different perspective to it and an appreciation to electricity in general. I will empathize with my characters like never before.
This blog post is an ode to electricity and everything it provides. No electricity meant no phone, no laptop, no camp, no everything. It separates us from Neanderthals. Electricity, I realized, fuels my world and almost everything else within it. Without it, I would be screwed and so would everyone else.
As I write, I bask in electricity and everything it has given me and I will now do so as long as I live.