What I Learned from a Week in the 19th Century

HomesteadersNothing makes you appreciate technology more than riding out a hurricane. Even though I live some 60 miles from the Atlantic coast, the winds whipping through my corner of Pennsylvania were enough to knock out power to some 850,000 people. It was like a week in the 19th Century — no lights, no running water, no heat, no Internet and no cell service. You don’t really appreciate mobile devices until you can’t call anyone and there’s no weather service to tell you when the rain will stop.

I’ve always thought of myself as a tech guy with a retro streak: I appreciate hand-wound movie cameras (have one) and manual typewriters (have two) as much as my iPad, my Galaxy, my Google TV and the Surface I’m going to convince Alice to buy me. I have developed a new appreciation for car chargers. How valuable Twitter was in spreading storm information, I have no idea. I didn’t have cell service, remember.

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder and, boy, am I fond of electricity now. Sitting by the fire is a nice way to pass some time, but it’s uneasy when you don’t know what’s going on in terms of your family (is Mom OK?) and the world (is New York still there?). If friends live near the shore, all you can be sure of is that their homes are being inundated.

It’ll be relatively simple to prepare for some of the next storm’s challenges. A small generator will take care of the well and the fridge, but they certainly won’t keep me in touch if the weather’s bad enough. When our power first went out I thought, well, I’ll have some quiet time. What I learned is being so deeply out of touch isn’t a very quiet thing at all.

Image: Wikipedia

One Response to “What I Learned from a Week in the 19th Century”

  1. Combining the theme of this election, and Sandy, I think it is NOT survival of the fittest, it is survival of those who will cooperate, pitch in, get things done, get things taken care of.

    I beleive, that if the US is going to continue to prosper, we’re going to have to do something about spending. Naturally, those receiving the entitlements don’t want this. But a true leader (with quality thinkers behind him) needs to come up with a way that the people getting the entitlements can contribute and participate, this will raise the productivity and standard of living of all of us.