The Upside of Powering Down

breno-machado-17850We had a blockbuster of a summer storm earlier this week. That’s saying something, because in my lifetime I’ve been in close proximity to a couple of tornadoes that came and went without much interruption to my life. The drill goes something like this: head to a windowless,  interior room (preferably in a basement), wait for the wind to pass, come out of hiding, assess damages, and resume normal activities.

This week’s storm was memorable in a different way. It decided to take out the electrical power for a large swath of my neighborhood, thereby rendering itself quite a nuisance. Temporary loss of power isn’t uncommon in my area. But losing power for more than a few hours is noticeable. This one had us down for 21 hours. That was long enough to seriously consider how much we take the use of electricity for granted.

I was home with my grandson when the storm hit. We got to sit downstairs with a smart phone in case a “duck for your life” alert was issued. It didn’t happen. We did spend some time reviewing those weather safety rules the meteorologists are always announcing on TV. We performed this little exercise for memory. No power means no TV, no WiFi, no computer… no whatever it is that uses electricity.

Admittedly, there were a few “I’m scared” moments. But, the storm’s upside came as a forced shutdown of normal activities. As happy as I was to hear the power kick in the following morning at 5:17 a.m. (according to my bedside clock), I understand those powerless hours were a gift in several ways.

  • It became a running joke to watch one another flip on a light switch for no apparent reason. We gained a new level of respect for flashlights.
  • With the fridge off limits and stove out of commission, our preferred lunch option was a few blocks away at the burger restaurant where power was not interrupted (a definite upside). Ditto for the dinner hour.
  • Back at home we assembled a puzzle, we colored, we read books, and we made up stories. We spent more time than usual directly interacting with one another.

My grandson seemed to relished the adventure and the extra measure of attention he had in the absence of electronic devices. We might try this exercise another day, except we will keep the fridge, stove, and lights turned on. 

How did you spend your time the last time you had to power down? Let me know at:

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