The Thin Line

August 6, 1999

On occasion I have had thoughts about our modern culture, and just how far removed, or not, we are from the caves of our ancestors.

When I watch some of the behavior, and see that the average child will see something like 8,000 murders before entering elementary school... I wonder that we even call what we do, culture.

But that is another topic, today I am reminded of the thin line - the power line - which separates our lives from the total chaos which is on the other side of the plug.

Take it away, the electricity...

What do you have? I'll tell you what you have, a whole lot of things which don't work.

Besides the most obvious lights,
Electronic ignition for the gas stove
Electric stoves
Toaster Oven
Air Conditioning/Heat
Water - if you live with a well
Alarm clocks
All the electronic toys, computers, TV, Nintendo, VCR’s, radio, many telephones. No caller ID
The garage door won't open.
Make sure you take a candle into that bathroom with no lights

The gas station can't fill your chariot with gas. Now what you gonna do?

Any of us wash our clothes by beating them on rocks in the river lately? The dryer is down also.

Ok... so you hook up the generator till you run out of gas. Then you gonna get out the chain saw and cut down some trees? Besides, that generator won’t power the AC, the stove, or the dryer.

Anyone know how they are going to eat?

What if there is no power for a month?

Pay the mortgage, feed the dog, or maybe by now we eat the dog? (I forgot, the invisible fence is down, the dog ran away.)

No use driving to work, the lights are out, and the elevators won't work. If you work in a high rise how many times are you going to climb the stairs?

Day tradning anyone?

Besides, the traffic lights don't work, and no one here knows what a 4 way stop is anyway. So the ER will fill up with stupid folks, but they don't have power there either.

I don't even own a watch that is not powered by electricity.

Anyone for walking across the bay bridge? Probably not.

The other day I carried a 50-pound backpack for two days. We walked 15 miles in total, and climbed from 9,000 feet to 14,225 and then back down. I carried my house, purified my water, had candles and flashlights for light, and a gas stove for cooking. We could have lasted for a while just the two of us, made fires and all that, but I was going to kill an elk with my camera?

I suppose we could all start riding bicycles... but to what jobs without electricity?

Several years ago we lost power here in the dead of winter, for a week. I bought the generator at that time.

Saturday the power went out at 3pm and did not come back on for 25 hours.

I have two concerns in all of this. First, as we become more and more dependent on electronics and electricity, the line gets thinner and thinner.

Second, there are still people around like my neighbor who called up at midnight and said "If you don't turn of that generator in 15 minutes I will call the police."

Oh yippee.

I'm not sure what is worse, the dependency, or the stupid neighbors.