Home The Soapbox Column: On grieving and loss … (of electricity)

Column: On grieving and loss … (of electricity)


I wish all of you a warm welcome back from a long, rugged weekend of pioneer living. 

If you’re like me, you’ve already shared all of your gritty stories of life without modern conveniences. For some, it was the cold shower, and for others, having to read off of paper. I, for one, had to cook on the grill out of necessity rather than choice.

Though a few remain in desolation as of this writing, most of us can now declare we survived The Great Power Outage of 2019.

All kidding aside, the weekend of waiting did provide an interesting moment of realization. I didn’t recognize the severity of my wall-outlet dependence. And in walking back through my Sunday activities, moments fit all too well within the stages of grief.

For the record, Saturday went just fine. The power went dead in the late morning and there was some novelty to the situation. We kept busy with a little shopping, surveyed the damage around town and capped off the night with Quiet Riot at Paperfest. 

Come morning, it was getting pretty old.

I’m not sure if it was denial or simply reflex, but there were a couple of moments that were definitely pathetic. I poured water into the coffee maker before sighing in exasperation. I would have to leave the house and talk to a person to get my morning fix.

In a moment of boredom, I hit the power button on the xbox before realizing, “oh yeah.”

There was anger. It arrived most vocally in my car at the eighth gas station that already sold through its entire ice cabinet.

There was bargaining. “If I just contort myself a bit in the far corner of the backyard, perhaps I’d get just one bar of reception on my phone … I just need to load the Google News page. I don’t even need the stories. The headlines will do.”

It reached depression. “This could go on for days.”

And by Sunday night, acceptance arrived. 

There were some pleasantly interesting things about life without constant electronic distractions. When tired, I took a nap. I set out to clean up the living room — and alas, it happened.

After sunset, I did a little reading by candle light and actually enjoyed how the extra bit of concentration necessary to navigate the flicker was making me sleepy. I’d get a little extra shuteye to ensure I’d hit the ground running on Monday.

It hadn’t been so bad. We made our own fun and had a good cookout. Yep, this is just fine, I thought. No big deal.

I put my head to the pillow and less than five minutes later, the lights went on above me in a moment of brilliance that far surpassed the wattage of the energy-saving bulb.

And less than five minutes from that point? 

I had gmail opened up on one tab, Twitter opened on a second and Facebook on a third.

Thank God. That was a brutal weekend.