…And This is Why the Amish Laugh at Us

I crafted part of a post yesterday, went out and visited a friend for a while, came home, relaxed and watched some of my favourite BBC America early afternoon shows with Ian. We weren’t even part-way through the last one when Bzzz-pop! EVERYthing went off. I sat for a moment, thinking it would come back just like it did the other day — nothing. It wasn’t even raining outside, so what was going on?

We went to the window not really expecting to see anything, and saw this:

Downed power lines: The only exciting thing around here for years. (Can you spot the cop?)

“Well, I’ll vacuum the floor, there’s nothing better to — crap!”

“I’ll put a wash on…” sigh

“Maybe I’ll get onlin…”

After about 20 minutes of nothing, the road was blocked off and the power company finally showed up to start the work. It went on. And on. And on.

Three hours later, I actually had a rational thought: I’ll start dinner, it’s a gas cooker/stove. Yeah, it is, but I planned on making a new dish last night, one that I know the boys will love AND EAT, and guess where the Chicken Crescent Roll recipe was? Online at recipezaar. So much for that craving.

The closer it got to 6 o’clock the more I worried about how I could get a message to Bryan. You see, I think I am the last of a dying breed that doesn’t, and never has, owned a mobile/cell phone. Even my own Mum has one. I’ve never really had a need for one – well, maybe with the exception of that one time the creepy guy from work followed me home (on foot) and I had to call the Fuzz, but that’s another story – and just never got one. Bryan has one and that’s good enough for me.

At least for now.

He managed to talk to the cop parked at the bottom of the street into letting him gain access to our road (it’s a dead end) and came home. Seeing as there wasn’t much else he could do, he got on the lawn tractor and mowed the lawn for an hour-and-a-half, then started up the barbecue while I made potatoes and green beans with the water we had. (We live in an un-incorporated “town” and have a underground water well. A well powered by e-l-e-c-t-r-i-c-i-t-y. If we drain the reserve, we can’t bathe, shower or even pee and flush. It’s fantastic.)

As the night drew on and the workers’ crane travelled up and down replacing the poles and cables the passing logging truck had pulverised, we put the boys to bed dirty (they’d been in the sandbox earlier), and in total darkness.

And twiddled our thumbs.

As we sat sharing the earplugs to Bryan’s iPod, I couldn’t help but think about how the Amish would laugh at us Englishmen, wallowing in our own self pity we’d created. With only a camping lantern as a distraction, and a box of matches as our passport to gastronomical modernisation, they’d guffaw at how our life had come to a screeching, kidless halt at just 9 p.m. It was then I realised we were lacking in the two person entertainment department: No UNO cards – not even a full deck of face cards, and no Twister Wheel of Fortune to beat the pants off of Bryan with.

Maybe I should’ve just gone and cried myself to sleep with my two faceless Amish dolls.

Around 02:15, I woke with a jump and had this eerie feeling someone was in the house. My eyes flicked open wide. Would you Adam & Eve it?* The power was back on. A whopping eleven hours later, some sort of normalcy had returned.

It really is amazing how we can all become a slave to electricity; and it’s not until we lose it, that we realise how much we depend on it.

Electricity is my Crack.  There, I’ve said it.

*Cockney slang: believe it.


19 responses to “…And This is Why the Amish Laugh at Us

  1. We had that happen about a month ago and we looked at each other and thought, now what do we do. It’s an odd feeling when you lose something that you take for granted.

  2. 1) how did the lines go down to begin with?
    2) you have a great view of the mountains; I am so jealous.

    3) you should have a cell phone; if you go anywhere in a car with your kids and you encounter problems, it could be a life saver. Trust me, I know from experience.

    4) The Amish are so ready for calamity should it strike. you’re right, they should be laughing.

    5) you need a cell phone.

  3. one summer evening last year our neighborhood lost its power. people i hadn’t seen in months emerged from their houses up and down the street. since no one could do much of anything else, we all stood around catching up on each other’s lives. it was nice to relax with absolutely no feelings of guilt. i could go for a power outage like that once a year.

  4. Isn’t it amazing how dependent we’ve become? That happened to us a few months ago at night. Todd and I just sat there and looked at each other. It was a very long night.

  5. Rocas: A passing logging truck hit one of the poles and smashed it. They ended up having to replace three poles altogether.

    GHF: I totally agree, 11 hours was a bit too much for me though.

  6. During the New York blackout in 2003 I got so bored that I went to bed as soon as it got dark around 9:30. The Amish would be disappointed.

  7. The first hurricane we survived here in Florida knocked out power to our neighborhood for over two weeks. Hubs had to cook on a propane grill the whole time. The kids and I stay with family. It was really weird not having anything with electricity working.

  8. It’s amazing when you realize how much you are dependent on electricity for EVERYTHING!! It’s funny how it creeps up on you.. But it is occasionally fun for an evening..

  9. You’re faceless Amish dolls were probably trying to laugh… Poor wee things.

  10. Um… *Your faceless Amish dolls… That was atrocious.
    AND I don’t have a cell phone either. Twins.

  11. Here in Oklahoma the power is always going out , and it’s usually weather related. You need to invest in a scrabble game, great for power outages.

    Until we moved to this remote outpost, I refused to own a cell phone, I hate the bloody things. Now I just have one for emergencies, as if the car breaks down it would be a long walk to the nearest garage. I never have it switched on, but it’s there just in case.

  12. I have a lot of colleagues who get their water from wells and like you when the power’s out they have no water. When there’s any inkling of a thunderstorm, they usually fill the bathtub so they have water to drink and to flush the toilet with.

  13. It’s crazy you don’t realize how much you use something until it is gone.

  14. Did they say why it happened?
    I mean one can’t even read… unless you can read under candle light or gas lattern….

    It is a very simple life living that way eh?

  15. With you guys living in such a ‘rural’ area, I’m surprised you don’t have any backup power. Even a small Honda unit would be enough to keep the well and septic going – and maybe even refrigeration. What if you had a lengthier blackout and you lost all your food? Maybe that’s something you guys should be looking into. Remember, that’s not the only tired trucker out there.

  16. You are SO right about our dependency on electricity. A few years ago, we were without power for 4 days in the middle of a blazing hot summer. It was horrible. Not only were we burning up, there was so little you could do without lights and power. It really made me appreciate the “juice.” 🙂

    By the way, the first thing I noticed in the picture was not the downed power lines, but the gorgeous view! I love mountains, and I’m envious of you for living in such a lovely place.

  17. Power outage. Yeah, I hit my book pile, except… Yes, you guessed it I have a backup generator. The middle of Seattle and I have a backup generator, water reservoir, and at least six months of food at any given time that I rotate on a regular basis.

    Okay, so maybe I’m just weird. Could be I was in the Army for 20 years. ;o)

  18. I remember after Hurricane Charlie, sleeping in my house with no power, meaning no air conditioning, meaning fun times in Florida (even at night). My battery backup for my computer powered a fan for 3 hours, every blessed turn of the blades delivering cool, breezy sanity.
    It really is crazy just how much we rely on electricity.

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