We didn’t feel the worst of Hurricane Sandy here, but our utility power has been out for three nights now. Yesterday a friend came by with a portable gasoline generator, so I’m not working by candlelight. We have an Internet connection and working refrigerator.
At first, I felt ambivalence. The weather is still fairly warm, and I’d imagined I’d enjoy the respite from incessant connectivity – but in fact I never let go of the cellphone, texting friends in New York and checking email. And within twenty-four hours, text messages and email weren’t enough: I headed to the public library to consume news photos and articles. Once there, I found myself with plenty of company.
As I write – my first truly “real-time” post here – headlines, tweets and photos from Sandy’s devastation continue to pour out. And I’m letting go of the idea that I’d be happy to cook on a camp stove and light candles in the dark for a week. But just after the storm cleared, I walked out to check the local damage (fallen trees and busted transformers) and met neighbors I’d never spoken with. So I do cling to a bit of nostalgia for simpler times.
A great – really awesome – book on this topic, better than anything I can offer is The Grid and the Village by Stephen Doheny-Farina. If you can’t find it through your public library, buy one and share it!