Maybe We All Need a Blackout Once in a While

Not that friends and colleagues are not still suffering mightily from the great storm we had this weekend in New England that blanketed us with heavy snow, causing downed power lines and hardship all around. In the town where I teach, many are still without power. My family only got our power back a few days ago. It’s been rough all around and we realize that we are better off than some.

But with many people I run into around the town, the conversation has inevitably turned from riding out the loss of electricity (plenty of references to Little House on the Prairie, just so you know) to the loss of our connections to the various information grids that we are part of. For our family, we had almost three days of no electricity and no phones at all — no landline and no cell. We were in an almost complete information and communication blackout, relying on radio (which made us realize how bad our local radio stations have become when it comes to news) and the local newspaper (which valiantly drive its reporters and editors to another state in order to publish a barebones edition) and the word-of-mouth of our neighbors.

And yet … most of the neighbors, friends and people that I met say they needed that step back from the overwhelming world of media and technology. Comments such as “I didn’t mind as much as I thought I would” to “You know, it felt good” to “I guess Mother Nature is giving us a reminder” to “We played Monopoly — the board game — for the first time as a family in years” — all of which indicate that maybe we need to remember that we don’t need to always be knee deep in the Information Age, 24/7. It would do us all some good to unplug things for a bit from time to time, and reconnect with the people around us. There’s a quiet that can be comforting when all of our devices are silent, and we are left to our own thoughts, and conversations.

Yes, I missed my work here at the blog, and at my various writing spaces. I didn’t rush to get online when we had power back (I was too tired), but it wasn’t long before I had drifted over here. Yet, I appreciated the quiet. Now, if we could just do that unplugging without the weather event, we’d be fine. (You hear that, Mother Nature? I know you’re listening.)

Peace (in the disruption zone),


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