Nothing like a power outage to make you feel like a snail out of the shell. The feeling of helplessness that creeps over one after the lights pop off is embarrassing. I’m a human being, dammit, I should be able to abide without gadgets. But going to each task in turn, I find myself unable. Can’t even turn the stove on, because it takes a spark to light. We have no fire in the house. How can survive no fire? my inner caveman asks. At the time, it seems a valid question.
Our oldest, the 10 yearold, shares my unease. She asks how we go into this fix. I describe how electricity came into people’s lives and homes over the course of the last century and a half or so, beginning with light bulbs and expanding to appliances and entertainment, stage by stage. “When your grandparents were born, there wasn’t any TV. When your mother and I were born, there weren’t personal computers. Change is rampant, constant, and accelerating. The abominations of one age become the jubilees of the next, and that which is abhorred now will be celebrated soon enough, all in a continuum of no-essence, of random permutations of embodied ideas!”
OK, I left off everything after ‘computers.’ No need to rush things.