Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Our Dependence Upon Technology

Amish Horse and Buggy, Westby

Although I'm thankful for technology and all our modern conveniences, I have been thinking lately about those on the east coast who have been suffering the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. So much destruction! So many still without power! With that in mind, I decided to do a re-post of my July 21, 2011 entry, which reminded us of how dependent upon technology most of us have become.

'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. ♫ 


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Denise said...

Thanks for always sharing such interesting posts.

MadSnapper said...

my husband and i both suffer from songs whining in our heads. we both hum and whistle all the time. he gives me his song and i give him mine. and now thanks to YOU i have Glen in my head.
We often discuss what the world would do without electricity.
in addition to your list of things in our homes, there would be no gas pumped no traffic signals, no stores could make change or even be open, the doctors offices are all online now. we went to the vet last year and their computer had crashed during the night. she said we don't know who is coming in today or what time, and when we left, she said i will have to bill you since i don't know what you owe without the computer, or the billing codes or amounts. the beat goes on. without electric we are up the creek without a paddle. no power needed for the paddle. LOL
we were without electric for 48 hours during Gabrielle and i almost went crazy

Suzan said...

Glad that you didn't have any other damage. I have a strong desire to live off the grid - but am too old with health issues. Wish I had this desire decades ago. We do want to move so we can have our own septic and water/well.Also, I want a wood burning stove. We're afraid to use our fireplace with an insert made in the early 90s. And our gas logs cost way too much and do not put out heat. I still want to put up solar panels, but it's still too expensive to have enough solar for the whole house. We do have have solar rechargable units that we use for our cell phones. I'd like to also get a larger one for our computer battery for the lap tops. It's sad that we depend so much on electricity and fossel fuels. My school has no windows so if there is an outage, we have no lights in the classrooms or halls or even bathrooms, so we had to install back up generators. We create our own problems instead of using what God gives us for free.

Terri D said...

After three hurricanes went through our part of Florida several years ago,and we were without power for three days, we bought a generator. Fortunately, it has been good insurance, because we haven't had to use it...yet. It's amazing what you can cook on a grill and how soon you can adapt to using lanterns, and washing with cold water.

Unknown said...

I always feel like I'm an old lady when I talk to the kids (and I say kids because they are only 22-23) at work about the things we didn't have that they have now. I mean, we never had cell phones.. I even remember a time when we didn't have a microwave :) But it is sort of sad how dependent we are on technology.. heck, I think the younger generation wouldn't know how to function even 8 hours without it!!
Another great post, Judy!

Paulette said...

From NBC's show Revolution to Doomsday Preppers on National Geographic channel, survival skills without today's modern conveniences is a hot topic. I fear that I would not fair well without modern conveniences. Thought provoking post, thanks.

Terri D said...

PS on my post above: It kind of all boils down to attitude, I think. Humans are amazing at adapting. Keep a positive attitude about anything, and life is sweeter for you and those around you!

RURAL said...

Well doesn't he have Alzheimers? So that could be why he's in your brain, repeating his songs, poor guy.

We have had two power outages this fall here, it's very odd to live on the side of a mountain, and have the power go out, it's DARK! LOL, But don't forget I come from the condo city land where there are people.

But not for anything would I change back.

When I was a teenager we lived in the country, so no flush toilets, no water, and we had company staying with us for two weeks, in the middle of was a real treat...but we had a wood stove, we managed.

Here, if the power goes out, I have access to the gas fireplace, water, and the BBQ, we could survive if we needed to. And the farm is only 10 minutes away, we could build a fire, and eat from the food in the freezers, and the cupboards until it ran out. We could charge our cell phones with the vehicles charger, and make do without FB, or blogging....I guess. LOL

In a condo, there is no room to store water, or a lot of food. So I think that anyone in a house is still better off.


Debra Hawkins said...

I think we do what we have to do, usually have a good cry. :) We could all learn to live without it, but it would sure be an adjustment.

Ruth Kelly said...

We are all addicted to technology. I would be very lost without it because I would not be in touch with my family who are so far away.

Smalltowngiggles said...

I am hooked on technology as much as the young people. I have been having computer issues. and panic when it won't boot up. What would I do all evening.
We were without power for 6 hours during a blizzard a couple of years ago on Christmas day. House temp got down to 40. very chilly. Couldn't even have coffee. I, too, think of all the people still without power or housing etc. How dismal they must feel at this time of the year. Hope and pray they find some peace and happiness this holiday season.

RebeccaT said...

Thanks for that technology dependent thought! I do love many things about the Amish, but wearing all the clothing in hot weather is definitely a drawback... As soon as the power goes I get thirsty too, glad I always have a bottle of water on hand.

Amy, a redeemed sheep said...

Glen is now living in MY brain! =D

I don't do well without electricity. =( I get anxious...Until I remember I can read a book. =)


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