Friday, September 19, 2008

Back on the grid

But feeling a little guilty that so many still aren't. I drove around yesterday afternoon in honor of the return of the land line, distributing bottled water to any lineman I could find. Thank you electric workers, aT&T workers, tree guys... The list is vastly endless for those profound thanks.

So much to process through all this. I can quip about how everyone would stand outside in the street facing east holding their cell phones up trying to get bars. Or how absurdly happy I was to find that my walking distance Starbucks reopened yesterday. (real coffee! WiFi!) It was a hive of happiness as we all checked our emails and just breathed in the caffeine. Or how clueless the info disseminators were for awhile, with their announcements of "Call us at ____" or "check our website at _____." So which part of close to 100% of us have no power and no land lines and virtually no cell phone service and had to just promise something really creepy to some guy named Kyle at the At&t store just to get a car charger don't you guys understand? Cause I'm saying - if we could check the website, we wouldn't be standing in line for ice.

But here's the other stuff, at least some of it. I could afford to throw away my rotted food and will slowly (once I'm sure this is all sticking) buy more than just what I need for one meal. I had baking soda and cleaning products and a shitload of 409 to clean the fridge. In fact, I keep our old fridge in the laundry room for drinks and water and the like and I cleaned that too. My house didn't flood, only almost. I teach public school so I have a job to go back to once the school gets power which will probably be Monday. They paid us early cause they knew the storm was coming. I have good neighbors who know how to cut stuff down. One who runs a landscape company and has a crew of guys with lots of chain saws and muscle. A husband with a Prius and a bunch of ingenuity who's even relatively interesting to talk to in the endless dark that began around 8PM.

But what if I didn't? What if I couldn't throw away my milk because I couldn't buy more and I couldn't walk to the FEMA POD or I had three little kids and the line was too long and I didn't have a support system to help me. What if I had no insurance? What if I was only one crisis away from homeless? (Hey, most of us are probably only 2 crises away anyway, so it's not such a huge stretch and if you think it is, think again) Money makes a difference. I always want to think it isn't so. And people yak like it isn't so. Just a little love. All that stuff. But it ain't so. Not to me. If you can't rebuild, you're stuck. And if you take away our ability to get out cause there's no gas to fill the car and our ability to network cause the communication infrastructure fails for too long, and limit what and when we can purchase... well folks, you've got the problems of every third world country and lots of poor areas right here in the good old US of A. And I always knew that. Only now it's really, really clear. Oh money might be bartering stuff and having skills and talents to share and to survive. People do it all the time. Lots of people doing just fine with their choice to be off the grid. But what if it wasn't their choice. Just bad luck and poor education and a whole bunch o' other stuff which might even include lack of intiative but mostly is just circumstances piling beyond one's control. When even listening to the area news on 99.7 - in between Johnny Cash songs and endless looping of Kid Rock's All Summer Long - do you know some stations around here censor the "smoking funny things" line? I mean seriously folks! Get a life. - doesn't really tell you what to do.

Okay rant over. Soap box put back in bathroom so I can wash the floors.

Til next time...


Kim said...

Glad you're up and running.

Anonymous said...

Glad you're back, too.

It was nice to see you in the real world yesterday. :)