You’ve probably imagined it, or at the very least talked about it. Perhaps you’ve even played a game like, “Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse”. It’s the idea of becoming “independent” and surviving on less while you test your skills and learn to “make do” with less technology. It’s a fun exercise to talk about, but after
last week, I can tell you – it’s not as much fun to live through.
You might have heard, we had some winter weather in the Seattle area. While not the storm-of-the-century it was predicted to be, this one packed a whallop. The snow was bad enough – because we don’t get that much in this part of the country, so we don’t have mass resources. I lived in a town in upstate NY with around 3000 people, and they had 4 huge snowplows. Plus the county plows, and the state road crews. People there knew how to live through blizzards.
People in the Pacific Northwest are not that prepared. After all, it’s silly to spend a lot of money on equipment you might not even use, (last year we didn’t have any snow). But, when bad weather happens here, it really, really happens.
And after the snow came the ice storm. With trees cracking from the weight of snow, which meant that power lines went down, and many, many of us lived without electricity for days. At the same time, at our house we lived for 24 hours without water, because our hot water heater developed a leak. No cable, no internet, no stove, no heat (except for our woodstove). Living off the grid.
This can be fun for approximately 24 hours. The first day is an adventure. We’d made a huge pot of chili the night before the storm. We heated it on the woodstove and chowed down on homemade bread I’d baked to go with it. A feast, and we were so proud to have expended so little energy to make it. Well, it was only day one.
By the third day the novelty had definitely worn off. We played an endless game of Monopoly, read, snuggled under our Pendleton blankets, toted in wood. We were lucky to have a gas generator, but we needed that to run the refrigerator during the day to keep our food from spoiling.
I could connect to the internet with my smartphone, and my new Kindle Fire is backlit so I read several great books. So while we weren’t totally cut off, it felt so quiet, and dark. And kinda lonely.
When the electricity popped back on, we actually danced around the house. When the cable reconnected, I believe there was giddy joy. It’s not that we couldn’t survive, but we realized that we are 21st Century humans, and we are unbelievably, incredibly spoiled. So while I might write books set in the 17th, 18th or 19th centuries, I certainly wouldn’t want to live there permanently.
But, to visit in a time machine? Maybe. Think of the research opportunities. If you ever visited another time, when would it be and what 3 things would you take with you?