Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Technology Trap

Just last week I was watching an old episode of Connections with James Burke. He was talking about the technology trap that we humans have set for ourselves. The Northeast Blackout of 1965 is a good example of what happens when we, who have become dependent upon technology, suddenly experience a snag. Wikipedia article, 'Over 30 million people and 80,000 square miles were left without electricity for up to 12 hours.'

On Tuesday evening, we saw by the radar map on, that we were under a tornado warning and that at least a severe thunderstorm was headed our way. We took the dogs to the basement, then waited out the storm there. A couple unwanted box elder trees, along with lots of little branches and leaves were strewn about the yard, there was a torrential downpour, and then about 7:30 the power suddenly went out.

All quiet.

No computer.
No printer.
No scanner.
No TV.
No radio.
No lights.
No fan.
No refrigerator.
No freezer.
No microwave.
No washer.
No dryer.
No AC.
No flushing toilets. (We have our own well and the water pump runs on electricity of course).

The storm eventually passed (the electricity was still out) and we went back upstairs, lit the oil lamps, opened the windows so the hot breeze could come in, and waited until it was time to go to bed. It was so deathly silent that I couldn't get to sleep. At 1:30 I moved to a different bedroom. I petted the cats. I waited for morning.

At 2:30 a light flashed across the wall of the upstairs bedroom where I was lying. I heard the low, soft  growl of a diesel engine. Someone was turning around in our driveway. I figured the linemen were out working on our transformer.

For the next hour, Glen Campbell was in my brain whining, 'I am a Lineman for the County.' I tried to figure out why he was a lineman for the county and not for the electric company. I guessed that 'electric company' had too many syllables.

At 3:30 AM, there was suddenly light and air conditioning! We got up, closed the windows. and waited for the house to cool off. It was wonderful!

That power outage was only 8 hours, and most of them were during the night.

As appealing as it is to wear long, black dresses and stockings (and bonnets) on a sweltering summer day, I've decided not to become Amish after all. Then again, the technology they have to worry about is a faulty hitch on their buggy.

The power outage was a good time to reflect upon this 'technology trap' that James Burke was talking about. It's true. We are so dependent upon technology and never expect to have to do without it.

I don't know how long the people of Joplin, MO were without power, but imagine if the power went out next week and we didn't know when it would return. Do we know how to survive? What are some things we need to learn to do? What are some things we need to keep on hand for emergencies? I was glad I'd just filled a two-liter bottle with water, for the first thing that happens when we have a power outage is that I get thirsty.

If we're so smart, why have we set this trap for ourselves?

Technology is wonderful, but can we survive without it?

What do you think?

P.S. I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that our youngest son can't survive without Facebook or texting, let alone electricity! Just sayin.' He might say that his mother can't survive without blogging. Then again, I suspect he's not even aware of the fact that I have a blog.

P.S. Please tell Glen Campbell to get out of my brain. ♫



Unknown said...

Great post Judy! I've always said, it's such a shame that we are all so dependent on technology. Heck, I freak out when I forget my cell phone at home!!! LOL

Mary said...

Technology really does trap us, but man, what would we do without it at this point? The thought of surviving in the desert without a/c is horrific to this girl! Glad your air kicked back on relatively quickly. Hope you were able to get some sleep at that point.

Andrea the Kitchen Witch said...

Its amazing how much we depend on electricity, isn't it? I'm glad that your power outtage was short lived and you all made it thru the storm unscathed. I had to LOL Judy, I too have romanticized about becoming Amish. Thanks for the reality check!

Glenn, please leave the blog/brain of our hostess. Your time here has expired and you are no longer welcome. Thanks! :)

Natalya said...

:) :) It is amazing how we depend on technology isn't it? Dad and I could most certainly survive without technology, mom and josh too I think. Dad, Mom, and I have researched "Buckskinning" or the art of reencting (to the utmost possible accuracy) the lives on mountain men/women. Dad is a survival expert too. :) hee hee, not only could we survive without technology, dad knows how to survive without a house, without even a tent! :) It's pretty easy to build a shelter out of sticks and branches, seeing we live in the woods, and that makes up most of WI. All you need is some rope and a knife! :) (Is that technology?)Survival, especially in the Xtreams is one of my favorite things to study. :) I prefer the Xtream of cold though, not heat! :) Someday I'll go to Antarctica! I will!!!!

Natalya said...

P.S. I would miss my MP3 player though. Somewhat. Harp isn't technology! It's been around since...well forever. I could still have my music! (and I can play in the dark!)

Empty Nester said...

I have believed for quite some time that very, very few could survive without technology these days. We are one spoiled brat when it comes to our modern convieniences. And I'm including myself in that boat. When Hugo came through in '89 we went without power for 11 days--a lot of folks went way longer than that. I was ready to shoot someone. It was HOT and there was ZERO ice. Our ancestors surely must think us to be whimps! 'Cause we are!

Heide at ApronHistory said...

It has been a very crazy summer for storms! The first week in July we had no power for about 36 hours. Well.... the city had no power, we left town, went to visit a certain sister. Very strange night though trying to pack in the dark!
We all decided we need to be more prepared as the first two hours we spent running around looking for flashlights, batteries and candles(not to mention matches).
It is very strange to be in the middle of a city and have it quiet, kinda spooky. What was even stranger was half the population decided to roam the streets! And the sirens keep going all night, that was the only sound you could hear.
All that and not a drop of rain with that storm?!

I would definatly miss internet.

Cranberry Morning said...

Like I told Jenn, how would I ever find Kevin in Sam's Club if I didn't have a cell phone!

Yeah, wouldn't we all miss the internet! :-) We have four old oil lamps that we keeps on top of a bookshelf, and we always know just where they are. That's nice. But the water I had in the 2L bottle was a fluke. I think I'm going to refresh that water bottle from time to time, especially during the stormy season, just in case. Amazing how you get thirsty when you know you can't run the water!

Thank you, Andrea, for taking care of my 'earworm' problem with Glen Campbell! :-)

Yenta Mary said...

I'm a proud Neoluddite -- computers and cell phones are necessary evils, and may God strike me down if I ever get a bluetooth and appear to be talking to myself with a toy hooked around my ear! We'd all be happier if we weren't imprisoned by 24/7 connectedness. I love my blogging buddies (like you, Judy!!!), and wouldn't have met you without this device. And yet, I feel stressed when I don't keep to a schedule, if I miss a day of reading, if I don't commiserate with someone on Facebook, etc. There's no way to keep up, and we all need to start stomping our feet and setting limits (as Jenn recently did). We feel as though we're missing life without our cyber connectedness, but really we're missing life because of it ....

Prairiemaid said...

Hi Judy,

Love you post! Sorry, you had to suffer through Glen Campbell and no electricity at the same time!

We experience no electricity for several days nearly every winter. Like you, we are on a well, so we keep a generator ready, in order to run the well pump. And we have a gas cook stove. Got to be able to have coffee in the mornings.

Other than that, I tend to agree with Mary....and I love the internet, but it is good to have it turned off and be forced back to reality, occasionally.;)

You'd make a lovely Amish could be the community soap maker!


Unknown said...

Our power was only out for a half hour last week, or maybe it was the week before. I immediately went into freak mode. No computer, no TV and 2 hot kids, oh the joy! At least I had my phone for Facebook if needed.

Carla from The River said...

Great Post Judy! I like what Yenta Mary posted.

Under Her Wings said...

Okay, I had a good laugh--and a moment of sheer panic! I don't know how I would ever sleep without my noise maker. I even take it on trips! I hate it when I can't sleep. Our power went out for 2 days a few years back (Arkansas ice storm), and we cooked on the gas fireplace. I don't know if I slept or not.

jennyfreckles said...

No water and no air con (in your weather) would be the worst. I could just about manage without the computer - but I'd miss you guys!

Anonymous said...

Relatives in northern IL went without power for 7 days last week, and 1 full day without phone service. It made me more aware of being prepared for an emergency. I have gallon jugs full of water for the dogs at all times. Since I don't want them to drink nasty OLD water I fill their bowls from the jugs daily and then refilll the empties and put fresh ones at the back of the line. (Oh and they get fresh water from the hose outside as well.) But if electricity goes off my well pump also goes off. One night this week my worst fears came true. The lack of sound of my fan running woke me up. For 2 very dark hours we had no power. Fortunately by 6:30 am it started up again. No one else noticed, except the house was warmer. Even those nasty rains we've had overnight have not been cooling things down, just making it steamier. I said more than once, how do the Amish neighbors keep cool in this heat? I bet they are spending time in the root cellar.
Which reminds me, time to recharge the cell phone battery.

J_on_tour said...

Electricity is a big thing these days that we have become reliant on. They did well to repair the fault so quickly as there may have been a lot more other faults to deal with. I remember when I was small, there was a winter strike by electric workers against the Government. I thought it was normal that candles came out every night.
Fuel is what's going to get though. The purchase of a push bike is imminent seeing I was on an activity weekend recently.


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