Thursday, September 18, 2008

living without

Cincinnati was struck by a severe storm last Sunday. Gusty, howling winds strong enough to uproot trees. I am one of the fortunate ones to live in a place where the electricity came back on after 24 hours. Some have had to deal with the power outage all week and are expected to have electricity this weekend.

Initially, the power outage made me feel non-productive. I needed to get on my computer to work on some things I needed for the week. I wanted to upload photos. I wanted to check email. Ah, the need for makes me wonder how we lived without it.

Later, I ended up liking it. After checking on some friends and asking if they were ok, I decided I was just going to take a nice, 20-minute power nap, then read something for pleasure. I actually went to bed at 9:30 pm, which in my life is unheard of. It felt refreshing to be disconnected, for a change.

I remember how, back in my home country, we would get hit by tropical storms that made power outages last for days and days. As children my siblings and I would rejoice at not having to go to school. We would welcome the cooler winds that the storm brought, maybe float paper boats in puddles. We would use oil lamps that looked like (and probably were) from the era of Spanish colonialism in our country. We would find ways of enjoying our time, just being together as a family.

This time, I savored the feeling of not needing technology, even temporarily. It's amazing too how we can get used to life's little luxuries. At 6 o'clock on Monday morning, taking a cold shower was almost torturous (ok, so maybe that's being overly dramatic). How could I have gotten used to warm water, when I have been taking cold showers all my life in the tropical heat back home?

Needless to say, the power outage became a welcome respite, to go back to simple pleasures. And to realize that there are things I can live without sometimes.

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