Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Electricity, energy, community, spoiled babies, blah, blah, blah

Last Wednesday afternoon or early evening we had a big blow around here.  No, not just some wind accompanying a cold front, but I mean it whipped through here really fucking fast and furious for almost 10 minutes.  We're talking Hurricane force winds. . . no shit.  Stuff was flying all over the place.  Pieces of the house, large boards from the barnyard.  I thought I had put away everything that could become airborne, but I didn't think it was going to blow that hard.
A few minutes after the main blow let up I eased my way down into the barnyard.  What a fucking mess!  Three metal roof panels of my big old barn had been peeled open like an envelope.  A corner of the metal roof on my new equipment barn had been lifted up and bent.  Worse of all, four really big oak and walnut trees in and around my barnyard had come crashing down taking out fence, blocking the creek and thankfully, not much else.
Of course the electricity was gone and I figured it would be off for a while.  Amazingly, the phone worked.  Hell, sometimes we get a spring shower and the phone goes out for two days, but not from this cyclone. . . strange.
After sitting in the peaceful quite and candle light for a couple hours I decided to jump in the truck and take a ride to see where trees were down.  I figured there was no way off the creek, but I just wanted to see.  I got up, let the dogs out and turned to grab my coat. . . it's pitch dark out here when the electric is on, so you can only imagine the degree of darkness that night. . . I'd already blown out the candles when I heard a voice by the door.  I immediately took a defensive position and yelled "who is that" (ya do that when you live 2 miles off the hard road and your closest neighbor is a 1/4 away) as it didn't sound like any of my regularly entertained neighbors. . . "It's me, Delmer.  I'm trying to get home.  Can you give me a ride up to my house"  Poor old Delmer had been riding all over these hills trying to find a way into the creek and get home.  He'd finally parked his truck about a 3/4 mile from my place and walked, having to climb through two big ol trees that were in the road.  He was about whooped.  I gave him a ride half way up his driveway and then he climbed through a big ol oak that was laying across his driveway, but he was glad to get home.

We spent the next few days cutting trees and generally cleaning up.  Actually, I'm still cutting up trees, but the worse of it's done.  
Oh, and we also spent five days without electricity.  Not having electricity is an inconvenience.  The pump on my well doesn't work without electricity, so the only water I have is the 20 or 30 gallons left in the tank.  We still had heat since our heaters are passive gas.  We had a stove to cook on: ditto gas.  Luckily I always keep an analog phone plugged in and the phone lines never went down (cell phones don't work out here).
I gotta say I enjoyed the quiet and the solitude.  No noise, no computer beckoning, no blare of the mindless TV.  I read two good sized novels by candle and oil lamp light.  I visited my neighbors a couple times and generally relaxed for a bit.  I even went to bed at a reasonable hour.
After reading a number of other local bloggers who were without electricity for a matter of hours last Wednesday, it amazes me how different our experiences were.  Yea, it was inconvenient, especially the first day when I couldn't even get off the creek.  Did I mention how the refrig and freezer warmed up after a couple days?  I had to grab a couple bags of ice on Fri and Sat and kept everything cool enough to survive.
I'm sorry to all those who were so put out by the loss of power.  It seems like it was such a bother for some of you.  I've got a feeling that many folks aint gonna like my next idea.

Ya know, we've got energy problems in this country.  We're using too much of it.  We've been told to cut back over and over for the past decade, but consumption just seems to keep rising, so here's my plan since voluntary reduction doesn't seem to work. . . rolling blackouts.  Yea, once per week your electricity is going to go out over night.  No big deal. . . it'll be off at 6PM and then back on at 6AM.  It's only once a week, what's the problem with that?  One night a week without TV, internet, electric lights, noise.  Oh, I know, you can think of a thousand reasons why we can't do that.  Well, deal with it.  If you aint on a respirator you aint got no reason to oppose so shut-up.  If you're on a respirator, we'll work something out.  We can't shut down factories that would use more power to start up again than would be saved. . .   This plan is in it's infancy. . . we can make it work.
Imagine how much energy resource we could save by having rolling blackouts.   What a great time people in neighborhoods would have.  They might come out of their houses and mingle like real members of a community.  Back when I was a kid, folks often spent evenings walking around and visiting.  It's probably time to get back to that and what better way to do it?
We can save energy AND become human again.  What the fuck do you want?

Try it.  Turn everything off some evening and keep it off.  Make up your mind to enjoy it.  Find things to do.  Get over your addiction to stimulation that does nothing for you.
Oh, and quit whining every time your spoiled little ass is inconvenienced in some way.


judy said...


The titles of your posts so often make me laugh and draw me in - think it was a title that originally brought me to your blog.

Love the last paragraph of this post, especially. And I can tell by the way it makes me a little nervous - the thought of unplugging for a night - that I clearly need to try it. I consider it a challenge.

SagaciousHillbilly said...

Hey Jude, Go for it.

MacDaddy said...

Good post, sagacious

And, yes, I could handle a blackout for a day. Sometimes I do this anyway: shut off the tv (which I hate anyway), turn off the cell phone, and go some place and write. The whiners are the ones who call me the next day, complaining that they couldn't reach me. I hope they get the blackout the next day. Then I wouldn't have to deal with them whining.

TriState Saver said...

I love this post!

I grew up in nowhere and the electric would go off for days. What I remember the absolute most is playing backgammon by oil lamp with my parents! Good times! I miss him much!